Can new antibiotics avoid resistance?

Ling et al. present a new nonribosomal peptide antibiotic, teixobactin, that inhibits cell wall synthesis by interacting with the lipid precursors of the cell wall. No resistant mutants of Staph. aureus or Mycobacterium tuberculosis were found, likely due to the fact that the antibiotic acts on small molecule cell wall precursors, not on the synthesis proteins themselves. Individual proteins can relatively rapidly develop mutations for resistance to inhibitors of their function, but mutations to change the route of cell wall biosynthesis are likely to be very rare, indeed. -CMJ


Ling LL, et al. 2015.

A new antibiotic kills pathogens without detectable resistance. Nature 517, 455–459. doi:10.1038/nature14098.

image: ibid.