How to reduce the phenomenon of antibiotic resistance?

As you know, improper and inappropriate use of antibiotics has resulted in bacteria developing resistance mechanisms. In general, we observe a decrease in the effectiveness of antibiotics in fighting multiresistant bacteria. In fact, the antibiotics that were developed between 1940 and 1980 generally had a very specific target, which facilitated the acquisition of resistance mechanisms by bacteria. In addition, the new antibiotics that are marketed are generally similar to existing antibiotics, making resistance acquisition even easier for bacteria. Thus, all the preceding facts suggest the importance of developing new antibiotics displaying novel mechanisms of action.

One of the alternatives is to develop antibiotics targeting the cell membrane of bacteria. Among others, we find the natural antimicrobial peptides that are a class of molecules participating in the immune response of several organisms such as bacteria, plants and mammals [1]. These peptides have the ability to form pores or to induce defects in the cell membrane, which will lead to a disturbance of the electrochemical gradient across the membrane, thus causing cell death (FIG. 1) .


Figure 1: Illustration of the main mechanisms of cationic antimicrobial peptides [3].

Inspired by these natural peptides, many researchers are attempting to develop synthetic antimicrobial peptides that will be both less toxic and pharmacologically viable. On the market, we find daptomycin (Cubicin®) which acts by a mechanism similar to natural antimicrobial peptides [4]. This antibiotic from the lipopeptide family is used for the treatment of infections involving methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). It is interesting to note that, like natural antimicrobial peptides, quaternary ammoniums, which are commonly used in disinfection operations, also destroy bacteria because of their membrane activity [5]. At Lalema, a wide range of quaternary ammonium-based disinfectants are available to meet your needs.

The ever-growing problem of antibiotic resistance is a major health issue and a heavy tax burden on governments. The use of an adequate antibiotic management system, the advent of new technology and better control of the transmission of pathogens (disinfection) are essential tools to reverse the current trend.



[1] Jenssen, H., Hamill, P., and Hancock, R.E. W. 2006 Clin. Microbiol. Rev. 19, 491-511.

[2] Zasloff, M. 2002 Nature, 415, 390-395.

[3] Chan, D. I., Prenner, E. J., and Vogel, H. J. 2006 Biochim. Biophys. Acta. 1758, 1184-1202.

[4] Taylor, S. D., and Palmer, M. 2016 Bioorg. Med. Chem., 24, 6253-6268.

[5] Ioannou, C.J., Hanlon, G. W., and Denyer, S. P. 2007 Antimicrob. Chemother Agents, 51, 296-306.