About this Research Topic
The rise of antibiotic resistance threatens to end the clinical usefulness of many antibiotics and fundamentally alters our ability to treat infections. Although compelling evidence suggests that resistance far precedes the human “antibiotic era”, extensive antibiotic use in medicine and agriculture, combined with the remarkable ability of bacterial populations to rapidly evolve and exchange genetic material, has accelerated the evolution, spread, and impact of resistance. We are now at a critical juncture where the utility of most antibiotics is challenged by resistance mechanisms - some well-established, others less so - coupled with a paucity of new treatment options on the horizon.
Solving the problem of resistance will require a multifaceted approach ranging from improved stewardship of existing antibiotics with retained efficacy, to fundamental studies of the mechanisms that underpin bacterial resistance or tolerance to antibiotics. This Research Topic will gather original research and review articles that highlight the contributions of structural biology to our understanding of antibiotic resistance. New insights from such approaches are likely to be critical in future efforts to develop strategies to overcome existing resistance mechanisms and to identify targets for novel antibiotic development. Appropriate areas for submissions include, but are not limited to, studies of resistance enzymes and their targets, modification of drug targets by mutation, drug efflux systems and other mechanisms of altered antibiotic penetrance, and processes that lead to antibiotic tolerance or heteroresistance via altered bacterial physiology. Additionally, while the broadly defined methods of structural biology, such as X-ray crystallography, electron microscopy, computational and other biophysical approaches, should typically be central to submissions to this research topic, we strongly encourage the inclusion of results from a wider range of structure-guided complementary approaches such as enzymology, protein engineering, synthetic biology, and “omics” methods.