Resistance to and synthesis of the antibiotic mupirocin

Christopher Thomas, Joanne Hothersall, CL Willis, TJ Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

111 Citations (Scopus)


Mupirocin, a polyketide antibiotic produced by Pseudomonas fluorescens, is used to control the carriage of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus on skin and in nasal passages as well as for various skin infections. Low-level resistance to the antibiotic arises by mutation of the mupirocin target, isoleucyl-tRNA synthetase, whereas high-level resistance is due to the presence of an isoleucyl-tRNA synthetase with many similarities to eukaryotic enzymes. Mupirocin biosynthesis is carried out by a combination of type I multifunctional polyketide synthases and tailoring enzymes encoded in a 75 kb gene cluster. Chemical synthesis has also been achieved. This knowledge should allow the synthesis of new and modified antibiotics for the future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-289
Number of pages9
JournalNature Reviews Microbiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2010


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