Understanding the basis of antibiotic resistance: a platform for drug discovery

Laura J V Piddock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


There are numerous genes in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium that can confer resistance to fluoroquinolone antibiotics, including those that encode topoisomerase proteins, the primary targets of this class of drugs. However, resistance is often multifactorial in clinical isolates and it is not uncommon to also detect mutations in genes that affect the expression of proteins involved in permeability and multi-drug efflux. The latter mechanism, mediated by tripartite efflux systems, such as that formed by the AcrAB-TolC system, confers inherent resistance to many antibiotics, detergents and biocides. Genetic inactivation of efflux genes gives multi-drug hyper-susceptibility, and in the absence of an intact AcrAB-TolC system some chromosomal and transmissible antibiotic resistance genes no longer confer clinically relevant levels of resistance. Furthermore, a functional multi-drug resistance efflux pump, such as AcrAB-TolC, is required for virulence and the ability to form a biofilm. In part, this is due to altered expression of virulence and biofilm genes being sensitive to efflux status. Efflux pump expression can be increased, usually due to mutations in regulatory genes, and this confers resistance to clinically useful drugs such as fluoroquinolones and β-lactams. Here, I discuss some of the work my team has carried out characterizing the mechanisms of antibiotic resistance in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium from the late 1980s to 2014. A video of this Prize Lecture, presented at the Society for General Microbiology Annual Conference 2014, can be viewed via this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCRumMV99Yw.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2366-73
Number of pages8
Issue numberPt 11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Drug Discovery
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Salmonella Infections
  • Salmonella typhimurium


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