Pathogenes – Area 2

Antimicrobial Resistance (AM)

Addressing antimicrobial resistance is a major public health challenge based on studying the prevalence and identifying the genetic determinants of resistance to antibacterial and antifungal agents.

Escherichia coli, Bacteries

© Institut Pasteur

Accurate characterization of the molecular events contributing to antibiotic resistance involves, on the one hand, alteration of so-called ‘intrinsic’ mechanisms resulting from mutations in resistance genes or their regulators and, on the other hand, acquisition of foreign genetic material.

Analysis of clinical bacterial strains shows that the occurrence of AM can be associated with the overproduction or alteration of certain proteins as a result of mutations.

Furthermore, some of these AM mechanisms can be transiently induced in response to physical, chemical, and/or mechanical stress and confer resistance to antibiotics used in humans to wild strains.

Identification of these stresses and the molecular responses triggered in PAs are essential for a better understanding of the environmental context that favours the occurrence and development of AM.
In addition to these intrinsic and adaptive (induced) resistance mechanisms, researchers in this topic are also interested in mechanisms acquired through the transfer of genetic information between pathogens, the latter posing a major health threat given their potential to spread.

As for fungal infections, the pressure exerted by the massive use of fungicides in agriculture is one of the main causes of cross-resistance with antifungals for medical use.

Given the current shortage of new antibiotics and antifungals, the detection and characterization of emerging resistance mechanisms, particularly to recently marketed molecules, is critical to rapidly identify the factors driving the emergence of resistance and provide information for the development of future molecules.

Electron micrograph of papillomavirus, scale: 70 nm