Bacterial Stress Responses to Antimicrobial Agents (pp. 131-172)
Authors: (Peter Sass, and Heike Brötz-Oesterhelt, University of Bonn, Germany and others)
Abstract: Microorganisms are continuously challenged by multiple stressors that result from a constantly changing environment. Antimicrobial agents represent hazardous stress factors for microorganisms, since they interfere with important metabolic pathways, thereby threatening the specific microbial lifestyle and eventually even survival. To ensure survival during antimicrobial stress, microorganisms have evolved specific adaptive responses to appropriately react to the presence of antimicrobial agents. The nature of these adaptive responses is often linked to the specific antimicrobial modes of action, which may involve e.g. perturbation of the bacterial cell envelope and inhibition of DNA, RNA or protein synthesis. Here, the adaptive response to antimicrobial stress is usually accomplished by changes in the gene expression patterns for those gene products which help to diminish the deleterious nature of the stress. This chapter provides a general overview of the most commonly used antimicrobial agents and will discuss the current knowledge on the corresponding adaptive responses of different bacterial species.