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Bacterial plasmid addiction systems and their implications for antibiotic drug developmen
     
 
Jennifer Tsang, PhD
Harvard Medical School
Harvard Medical School/Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Cente, Boston, MA 02115, USA
jtsang@bidmc.harvard.edu

Bacteria frequently carry mobile genetic elements capable of being passed to other bacterial cells. An example of this is the transfer of plasmids (small, circular DNA molecules) that often contain antibiotic resistance genes from one bacterium to another. Plasmids have evolved mechanisms to ensure their survival through generations by employing plasmids segregation and replication machinery and plasmid addiction systems. Plasmid addiction systems utilize a post-segregational killing of cells that have not received a plasmid. In this review, the types of plasmid addiction systems are described as well as their prevalence in antibiotic resistant bacteria. Lastly, the possibility of targeting these plasmid addiction systems for the treatment of antibiotic resistant bacterial infections is explored.

 
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