Research Seminar: Target protection: an unusual mechanism of antibiotic resistance enters the limelight.

Dr. Alex O’Neill, School of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Leeds

Tuesday 12th December, 1.00 p.m., Stacey Lecture Theatre 1


Antibiotic resistance threatens to undermine our ability to treat bacterial infection, and therefore constitutes a major threat to human health. Understanding the biology of this phenomenon – including the molecular mechanisms by which resistance is mediated – represents an important facet of an effective response to the problem.


This seminar will examine the evolving paradigm of ‘target protection’, a mechanism wherein a resistance protein physically associates with an antibiotic target to safeguard the function of the latter in the face of an antibiotic challenge. First described nearly three decades ago, target protection has been considered little more than an unusual foot-note alongside the better-known mechanisms by which bacteria resist the effect of antibiotics. However, our recent work has revealed target protection as a key player in antibiotic resistance – one that is capable of protecting bacterial pathogens against a broad swathe of clinically important antibiotics – and has begun to shed light on the molecular mechanisms through which this type of resistance is mediated.