Navigation path


Combating resistance to antibiotics
EC contribution
: € 1.795.500
: 36 months
Starting date
: 01/01/2006
Funding scheme
: Specific Targeted Research Project
: antibiotics, horizontal gene transfer, transposition, conjugation, integron, toxin
Contract/Grant agreement number
: LSHM-CT-2005-019023
Project web-site


Combating bacteria with antibiotics is an endless race because bacteria acquire antibiotic resistance (AR) genes easily from unknown environmental sources. We think that an appropriate long-term public health objective would be to elucidate the molecular mechanisms behind the observed AR spread in a concerted strategy targeting the dissemination modules, from AR recruitment to their ultimate acquisition by bacterial pathogens. The focus of our project is to explore a mechanistic approach to combat AR by tackling each of the dissemination modules in this chain - integrons, transposons, conjugative plasmids and stability modules - in a concerted approach. We concentrate on the as yet insufficiently understood aspects of these mechanisms.


Antibiotic resistance has represented a serious impediment to antibiotic therapy for as long as antibiotics have been used. Although mutations are responsible for some specific cases of AR, the driving force behind the problem of multiresistance to antimicrobials is gene acquisition by human pathogens. In the past, understanding of AR spread and its control was based largely on a unique approach: the precise description of AR genes presently found in hospitals, and inference from this of the working mechanisms of dispersion. This approach resulted in the accumulation of an impressive knowledge base of individual elements, modules and clones of bacteria that underpin AR dissemination. Nevertheless, and in spite of the vast number of publications on the subject, after over 40 years of study, we are as yet unable to circumvent or even simply restrain AR dissemination.

[+] Read More