Excessive use of antibiotics in recent years has produced bacteria that are resistant to a wide array of antibiotics. Several genetic and non-genetic elements allow microorganisms to adapt and thrive under harsh environmental conditions such as lethal doses of antibiotics. We attempt to classify these microorganisms as antibiotic-resistant extremophiles (AREs). AREs develop strategies to gain greater resistance to antibiotics via accumulation of multiple genes or plasmids that harbor genes for multiple drug resistance (MDR). In addition to their altered expression of multiple genes, AREs also survive by producing enzymes such as penicillinase that inactivate antibiotics. It is of interest to identify the underlying molecular mechanisms by which the AREs are able to survive in the presence of wide arrays of high-dosage antibiotics. Technologically, "omics"-based approaches such as genomics have revealed a wide array of genes differentially expressed in AREs. Proteomics studies with 2DE, MALDI-TOF, and MS/MS have identified specific proteins, enzymes, and pumps that function in the adaptation mechanisms of AREs. This article discusses the molecular mechanisms by which microorganisms develop into AREs and how "omics" approaches can identify the genetic elements of these adaptation mechanisms. These objectives will assist the development of strategies and potential therapeutics to treat outbreaks of pathogenic microorganisms in the future.
- Antibiotic-resistant extremophiles
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine