Allogenous Selection of Mutational Collateral Resistance: Old Drugs Select for New Resistances Within Antibiotic Families

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Fernando Baquero, Jose-Luis Martínez, Angela Silva-Novais, Jeronimo Rodríguez-Beltrán, Laura Martínez-García, Teresa M. Coque, Juan-Carlos Galán


Allogeneous selection occurs when an antibiotic selects for resistance to more advanced members of the same family. The mechanisms of allogenous selection are (a) collateral expansion, when the antibiotic expands the gene and gene-containing bacterial populations favoring the emergence of other mutations, inactivating the more advanced antibiotics; (b) collateral selection, when the old antibiotic selects its own resistance but also resistances to more modern drugs; (c) collateral hyper-resistance, when resistance to the old antibiotic selects in higher degree for populations resistant to other antibiotics of the family than to itself; and (d) collateral evolution, when the simultaneous or sequential use of antibiotics of the same family selects for new mutational combinations with novel phenotypes, generally with higher activity or broader spectrum. Note that in some cases, collateral selection derives from collateral evolution. In this study, examples of allogenous selection are provided for the major families of antibiotics. Improvements in minimal inhibitory concentrations with the newest drugs do not necessarily exclude “old” antibiotics of the same family of retaining some selective power for resistance to the newest agents. If this were true, the use of older members of the same drug family would facilitate the emergence of mutational resistance to the younger drugs of the family, which is frequently based on previously established resistance traits. The extensive use of old drugs (particularly in low-income countries and in farming) might be significant for the emergence and selection of resistances to the novel members of the family, becoming a growing source of variation and selection of resistance to the whole family. In terms of future research, it could be advisable to focus antimicrobial drug discovery more on the identification of new targets and new (unique) classes of antimicrobial agents, than on the perpetual chemical exploitation of classic existing ones.



Life Sciences, Medicine and Health Sciences, Microbiology


Allogenous Selection, Antibiotic Resistance, Collateral resistance, Old antibiotics


Published: 2021-09-11 05:30


CC-BY Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International