Antibiotic Resistance: The Switch is Of1

  • Author: Melania Tesio
  • Published: 26 September 2013
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA
  • Source / Publisher: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America PNAS/National Academy of Sciences
thumbnail image: Antibiotic Resistance: The Switch is Of1

Staphylococci aureus (MRSA) are pathogenic bacteria that cause skin infections, respiratory diseases, and food poisoning. β-lactam antibiotics, a broad class of drugs containing a β-lactam ring, are the first-line therapy against these pathogens. Through natural selection, however, some bacterial strains have become resistant to β-lactam antibiotics, thus, alternative treatments are required.


A promising treatment consists of resistance-modifying agents (MRAs), compounds that resensitize resistant bacteria to common antibiotics. To develop novel MRAs, Jessica Podoll and colleagues, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA, synthesized and screened a library of polycyclic indole alkaloids, a large class of nitrogen-containing compounds. Using this approach, the researchers obtained a tricyclic indoline named Of1 (pictured). This novel compound resensitized numerous multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strains to several β-lactam antibiotics, such as methicillin, amoxicillin/clavulanic acid, cefazolin, and imipedem.


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