The intrinsic resistome of Pseudomonas aeruginosa to β-lactams

Carolina Alvarez-Ortega, Irith Wiegand, JORGE ANDRES OLIVARES PACHECO, Robert E.W. Hancock, José Luis Martínez

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62 Scopus citations

Abstract

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a relevant opportunistic pathogen particularly problematic due to its low intrinsic susceptibility to antibiotics. Intrinsic resistance has been traditionally attributed to the low permeability of cellular envelopes together with the presence of chromosomally-encoded detoxification systems such as multidrug efflux pumps or antibiotic inactivating enzymes. However, some recently published articles indicate that several other elements can contribute to the phenotype of intrinsic resistance of bacterial pathogens. In a recently published article, we explored the chromosomally-encoded determinants that contribute to the phenotype of susceptibility of P. aeruginosa to ceftazidime, imipenem and carbapenem. Using a comprehensive library of transposon-tagged insertion mutants, we found 37 loci in the chromosome of P. aeruginosa that contributed to its intrinsic resistance, because mutants in these loci were more susceptible to antibiotics than their parental strain. Forty one further loci could potentially be involved in the acquisition of resistance, because mutants in these loci were less susceptible than their wild-type counterpart. These results indicate that the intrinsic resistome of P. aeruginosa involves several elements, belonging to different functional families and cannot be considered as a specific mechanism of adaptation to the recent usage of antibiotics as therapeutic agents. In the current article, we summarize the findings of the paper and discuss their implications for understanding the evolution of antibiotic resistance and for defining novel targets for the search of new antimicrobials. Finally, the validity of recent theories on the mechanisms of action of antibiotics is discussed taken into consideration the results of our paper and other recently published works on the mechanisms of intrinsic resistance to antibiotics of P. aeruginosa.

Original languageEnglish
JournalVirulence
Volume2
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2011

Keywords

  • Intrinsic resistance
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Resistome
  • β-lactam resistance
  • β-lactamase

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