Phosphoethanolamine Transferases as Drug Discovery Targets for Therapeutic Treatment of Multi-Drug Resistant Pathogenic Gram-Negative Bacteria

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Antibiotic resistance caused by multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacteria is a major challenge to global public health. Polymyxins are increasingly being used as last-in-line antibiotics to treat MDR Gram-negative bacterial infections, but resistance development renders them ineffective for empirical therapy. The main mechanism that bacteria use to defend against polymyxins is to modify the lipid A headgroups of the outer membrane by adding phosphoethanolamine (PEA) moieties. In addition to lipid A modifying PEA transferases, Gram-negative bacteria possess PEA transferases that decorate proteins and glycans. This review provides a comprehensive overview of the function, structure, and mechanism of action of PEA transferases identified in pathogenic Gram-negative bacteria. It also summarizes the current drug development progress targeting this enzyme family, which could reverse antibiotic resistance to polymyxins to restore their utility in empiric therapy.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1382
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

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