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Concept: Penicillin


Antibiotic resistance is spreading faster than the introduction of new compounds into clinical practice, causing a public health crisis. Most antibiotics were produced by screening soil microorganisms, but this limited resource of cultivable bacteria was overmined by the 1960s. Synthetic approaches to produce antibiotics have been unable to replace this platform. Uncultured bacteria make up approximately 99% of all species in external environments, and are an untapped source of new antibiotics. We developed several methods to grow uncultured organisms by cultivation in situ or by using specific growth factors. Here we report a new antibiotic that we term teixobactin, discovered in a screen of uncultured bacteria. Teixobactin inhibits cell wall synthesis by binding to a highly conserved motif of lipid II (precursor of peptidoglycan) and lipid III (precursor of cell wall teichoic acid). We did not obtain any mutants of Staphylococcus aureus or Mycobacterium tuberculosis resistant to teixobactin. The properties of this compound suggest a path towards developing antibiotics that are likely to avoid development of resistance.

Concepts: Archaea, Bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, Antibiotic resistance, Cell wall, Antibiotic, Microorganism, Penicillin


ABSTRACT New treatments are needed for extensively drug-resistant (XDR) Gram-negative bacilli (GNB), such as Acinetobacter baumannii. Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) was previously reported to enhance bacterial clearance of GNB, including A. baumannii. However, here we have shown that 100% of wild-type mice versus 0% of TLR4-deficient mice died of septic shock due to A. baumannii infection, despite having similar tissue bacterial burdens. The strain lipopolysaccharide (LPS) content and TLR4 activation by extracted LPS did not correlate with in vivo virulence, nor did colistin resistance due to LPS phosphoethanolamine modification. However, more-virulent strains shed more LPS during growth than less-virulent strains, resulting in enhanced TLR4 activation. Due to the role of LPS in A. baumannii virulence, an LpxC inhibitor (which affects lipid A biosynthesis) antibiotic was tested. The LpxC inhibitor did not inhibit growth of the bacterium (MIC > 512 µg/ml) but suppressed A. baumannii LPS-mediated activation of TLR4. Treatment of infected mice with the LpxC inhibitor enhanced clearance of the bacteria by enhancing opsonophagocytic killing, reduced serum LPS concentrations and inflammation, and completely protected the mice from lethal infection. These results identify a previously unappreciated potential for the new class of LpxC inhibitor antibiotics to treat XDR A. baumannii infections. Furthermore, they have far-reaching implications for pathogenesis and treatment of infections caused by GNB and for the discovery of novel antibiotics not detected by standard in vitro screens. IMPORTANCE Novel treatments are needed for infections caused by Acinetobacter baumannii, a Gram-negative bacterium that is extremely antibiotic resistant. The current study was undertaken to understand the immunopathogenesis of these infections, as a basis for defining novel treatments. The primary strain characteristic that differentiated virulent from less-virulent strains was shedding of Gram-negative lipopolysaccharide (LPS) during growth. A novel class of antibiotics, called LpxC inhibitors, block LPS synthesis, but these drugs do not demonstrate the ability to kill A. baumannii in vitro. We found that an LpxC inhibitor blocked the ability of bacteria to activate the sepsis cascade, enhanced opsonophagocytic killing of the bacteria, and protected mice from lethal infection. Thus, an entire new class of antibiotics which is already in development has heretofore-unrecognized potential to treat A. baumannii infections. Furthermore, standard antibiotic screens based on in vitro killing failed to detect this treatment potential of LpxC inhibitors for A. baumannii infections.

Concepts: Immune system, Bacteria, Microbiology, Antibiotic resistance, Lipid, Penicillin, Acinetobacter baumannii, Endotoxin


Background Both targeted decolonization and universal decolonization of patients in intensive care units (ICUs) are candidate strategies to prevent health care-associated infections, particularly those caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Methods We conducted a pragmatic, cluster-randomized trial. Hospitals were randomly assigned to one of three strategies, with all adult ICUs in a given hospital assigned to the same strategy. Group 1 implemented MRSA screening and isolation; group 2, targeted decolonization (i.e., screening, isolation, and decolonization of MRSA carriers); and group 3, universal decolonization (i.e., no screening, and decolonization of all patients). Proportional-hazards models were used to assess differences in infection reductions across the study groups, with clustering according to hospital. Results A total of 43 hospitals (including 74 ICUs and 74,256 patients during the intervention period) underwent randomization. In the intervention period versus the baseline period, modeled hazard ratios for MRSA clinical isolates were 0.92 for screening and isolation (crude rate, 3.2 vs. 3.4 isolates per 1000 days), 0.75 for targeted decolonization (3.2 vs. 4.3 isolates per 1000 days), and 0.63 for universal decolonization (2.1 vs. 3.4 isolates per 1000 days) (P=0.01 for test of all groups being equal). In the intervention versus baseline periods, hazard ratios for bloodstream infection with any pathogen in the three groups were 0.99 (crude rate, 4.1 vs. 4.2 infections per 1000 days), 0.78 (3.7 vs. 4.8 infections per 1000 days), and 0.56 (3.6 vs. 6.1 infections per 1000 days), respectively (P<0.001 for test of all groups being equal). Universal decolonization resulted in a significantly greater reduction in the rate of all bloodstream infections than either targeted decolonization or screening and isolation. One bloodstream infection was prevented per 54 patients who underwent decolonization. The reductions in rates of MRSA bloodstream infection were similar to those of all bloodstream infections, but the difference was not significant. Adverse events, which occurred in 7 patients, were mild and related to chlorhexidine. Conclusions In routine ICU practice, universal decolonization was more effective than targeted decolonization or screening and isolation in reducing rates of MRSA clinical isolates and bloodstream infection from any pathogen. (Funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; REDUCE MRSA number, NCT00980980 .).

Concepts: Immune system, Pneumonia, Staphylococcus aureus, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Penicillin


Pathogenic Leptospira spp., the causative agents of leptospirosis, are slow-growing Gram-negative spirochetes. Isolation of Leptospira from clinical samples and testing of antimicrobial susceptibility are difficult and time-consuming. Here, we describe the development of a new solid medium that facilitates more-rapid growth of Leptospira spp. and the use of this medium to evaluate the Etest’s performance in determining antimicrobial MICs to drugs in common use for leptospirosis. The medium was developed by evaluating the effects of numerous factors on the growth rate of Leptospira interrogans strain NR-20157. These included the type of base agar, the concentration of rabbit serum (RS), and the concentration and duration of CO(2) incubation during the initial period of culture. The highest growth rate of NR-20157 was achieved using a Noble agar base supplemented with 10% RS (named LVW agar), with an initial incubation at 30°C in 5% CO(2) for 2 days prior to continuous culture in air at 30°C. These conditions were used to develop the Etest for three species, L. interrogans (NR-20161), L. kirschnerii (NR-20327), and L. borgpetersenii (NR-20151). The MICs were read on day 7 for all samples. The Etest was then performed on 109 isolates of pathogenic Leptospira spp. The MIC(90) values for penicillin G, doxycycline, cefotaxime, ceftriaxone, and chloramphenicol were 0.64 units/ml and 0.19, 0.047, 0.5, and 2 μg/ml, respectively. The use of LVW agar, which enables rapid growth, isolation of single colonies, and simple antimicrobial susceptibility testing for Leptospira spp., provides an opportunity for new areas of fundamental and applied research.

Concepts: Microbiology, Penicillin, Spirochaetes, Spirochaete, Leptospira, Leptospirosis, The Medium, Causative


Angioedema is the end result of deep dermal, subcutaneous and/or mucosal swelling, and is potentially a life-threatening condition in cases where the pharynx or larynx is involved. Drug-induced angioedema has been reported to occur in response to a wide range of drugs and vaccines. Drug-induced angioedema, like other cutaneous drug reactions, has been reported to be most frequently elicited by beta-lactam antibiotics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, although reliable data from epidemiologic studies are scarce. Recent reports suggested an increasing role of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) in the causation of life-threatening angioedema. ACEI-related angioedema is never accompanied by urticaria and occurs via a kinin-dependent mechanism. ACEI-related angioedema not only can start years after beginning the treatment, but it can then recur irregularly while under that treatment. Furthermore, allergy tests are unreliable for the diagnosis of ACEI-related angioedema, and so the relationship between angioedema and ACEIs is often missed and consequently quite underestimated. Accordingly, better understanding of the kinin-dependent mechanism, which is particular to angioedema, is necessary for the appropriate management of drug-induced angioedema.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Drug, Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, Anti-inflammatory, Drug addiction, Penicillin, Angioedema, ACE inhibitor


Beta-lactam antibiotics form the backbone of treatment for Gram-negative pneumonia in mechanically ventilated patients in the intensive care unit. However, this beta-lactam antibiotic backbone is increasingly under pressure from emerging resistance across all geographical regions, and health-care professionals in many countries are rapidly running out of effective treatment options. Even in regions that currently have only low levels of resistance, the effects of globalization are likely to increase local pressures on the beta-lactam antibiotic backbone in the near future. Therefore, clinicians are increasingly faced with a difficult balancing act: the need to prescribe adequate and appropriate antibiotic therapy while reducing the emergence of resistance and the overuse of antibiotics. In this review, we explore the burden of Gram-negative pneumonia in the critical care setting and the pressure that antibiotic resistance places on current empiric therapy regimens (and the beta-lactam antibiotic backbone) in this patient population. New treatment approaches, such as systemic and inhaled antibiotic alternatives, are on the horizon and are likely to help tackle the rising levels of beta-lactam antibiotic resistance. In the meantime, it is imperative that the beta-lactam antibiotic backbone of currently available antibiotics be supported through stringent antibiotic stewardship programs.

Concepts: Bacteria, Antibiotic resistance, Intensive care medicine, Antibiotic, Penicillin, Beta-lactam antibiotic, Beta-lactam, Antibiotics


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) continues to be a major problem, causing severe and intractable infections worldwide. MRSA is resistant to all beta-lactam antibiotics, and alternative treatments are limited. A very limited number of new antibiotics have been discovered over the last half-century, novel agents for the treatment of MRSA infections are urgently needed. Marinopyrrole A was reported to show antibiotic activity against MRSA in 2008. After we reported the first total synthesis of (±)-marinopyrrole A, we designed and synthesized a series of marinopyrrole derivatives. Our structure activity relationship (SAR) studies of these novel derivatives against a panel of Gram-positive pathogens in antibacterial assays have revealed that a para-trifluoromethyl analog (33) of marinopyrrole A is ≥63-, 8-, and 4-fold more potent than vancomycin against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis (MRSE), methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) and MRSA, respectively. The results provide valuable information in the search for new-generation antibiotics.

Concepts: Bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, Antibiotic resistance, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Linezolid, Vancomycin, Penicillin, Vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus


A review of epidemiological studies on the incidence of MRSA infections overtime was performed along with an analysis of data available for download from Hospital Compare ( We found the estimations of the incidence of MRSA infections varied widely depending upon the type of population studied, the types of infections captured and in the definitions and terminology used to describe the results. We could not find definitive evidence that the incidence of MRSA infections in U.S. community or facilities is decreasing significantly. Of concern are recent data reported to the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) on MRSA bloodstream infections which indicate that by the end of 2015 there had been little change in the average facility Standardized Infection Ratio (0.988), compared to a 2010-2011 baseline and is significantly increased compared to the previous year. This is in contradistinction to the recent Veterans Administration study which reported over an 80% reduction in MRSA infections. However, this discrepancy may be due to the inability to reconcile the baselines of the two data sets; and the observed increase may be artifactual due to aberrations in the NHSN tracking system. Our review supports the need for implementation of a comprehensive tracking and monitoring system involving all types of healthcare facilities for multi-drug resistant organisms, along with concomitant funding for both staff and infrastructure. Without such a system, determining the effectiveness of interventions such as antibiotic stewardship and chlorhexidine bathing will be hindered.

Concepts: Immune system, Epidemiology, Infection, United States, Antibiotic resistance, Penicillin


The alarming increase of pathogenic bacteria that are resistant to multiple antibiotics is now recognized as a major health issue fuelling demand for new drugs. Bacterial resistance is often caused by molecular changes at the bacterial surface, which alter the nature of specific drug-target interactions. Here, we identify a novel mechanism by which drug-target interactions in resistant bacteria can be enhanced. We examined the surface forces generated by four antibiotics; vancomycin, ristomycin, chloroeremomycin and oritavancin against drug-susceptible and drug-resistant targets on a cantilever and demonstrated significant differences in mechanical response when drug-resistant targets are challenged with different antibiotics although no significant differences were observed when using susceptible targets. Remarkably, the binding affinity for oritavancin against drug-resistant targets (70 nM) was found to be 11,000 times stronger than for vancomycin (800 μM), a powerful antibiotic used as the last resort treatment for streptococcal and staphylococcal bacteria including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Using an exactly solvable model, which takes into account the solvent and membrane effects, we demonstrate that drug-target interactions are strengthened by pronounced polyvalent interactions catalyzed by the surface itself. These findings further enhance our understanding of antibiotic mode of action and will enable development of more effective therapies.

Concepts: Bacteria, Pneumonia, Staphylococcus aureus, Antibiotic resistance, Staphylococcus, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Antibiotic, Penicillin


To determine how important governmental, social, and economic factors are in driving antibiotic resistance compared to the factors usually considered the main driving factors-antibiotic usage and levels of economic development.

Concepts: Bacteria, Antibiotic resistance, Economics, Penicillin, Economic development, Worldwide Governance Indicators