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Genes 2017, 8(1), 39;

The Complex Relationship between Virulence and Antibiotic Resistance

Department of Microbiological Sciences; North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58105, USA
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58105, USA
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58105, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Helen J. Wing
Received: 4 November 2016 / Revised: 21 December 2016 / Accepted: 7 January 2017 / Published: 18 January 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Virulence Gene Regulation in Bacteria)
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Antibiotic resistance, prompted by the overuse of antimicrobial agents, may arise from a variety of mechanisms, particularly horizontal gene transfer of virulence and antibiotic resistance genes, which is often facilitated by biofilm formation. The importance of phenotypic changes seen in a biofilm, which lead to genotypic alterations, cannot be overstated. Irrespective of if the biofilm is single microbe or polymicrobial, bacteria, protected within a biofilm from the external environment, communicate through signal transduction pathways (e.g., quorum sensing or two-component systems), leading to global changes in gene expression, enhancing virulence, and expediting the acquisition of antibiotic resistance. Thus, one must examine a genetic change in virulence and resistance not only in the context of the biofilm but also as inextricably linked pathologies. Observationally, it is clear that increased virulence and the advent of antibiotic resistance often arise almost simultaneously; however, their genetic connection has been relatively ignored. Although the complexities of genetic regulation in a multispecies community may obscure a causative relationship, uncovering key genetic interactions between virulence and resistance in biofilm bacteria is essential to identifying new druggable targets, ultimately providing a drug discovery and development pathway to improve treatment options for chronic and recurring infection. View Full-Text
Keywords: antibiotic resistance; virulence genes; biofilms; microbial communication antibiotic resistance; virulence genes; biofilms; microbial communication

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Schroeder, M.; Brooks, B.D.; Brooks, A.E. The Complex Relationship between Virulence and Antibiotic Resistance. Genes 2017, 8, 39.

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