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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 679109, 11 pages
Review Article

Antibacterial Mechanisms of Polymyxin and Bacterial Resistance

1College of Biological and Environmental Engineering, Zhejiang University of Technology, Hangzhou 310014, China
2Department of Electrical Engineering, Columbia University, New York City, NY 10027, USA
3Shenzhen Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Shenzhen 518055, China

Received 29 August 2014; Accepted 10 November 2014

Academic Editor: Roy Gross

Copyright © 2015 Zhiliang Yu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Multidrug resistance in pathogens is an increasingly significant threat for human health. Indeed, some strains are resistant to almost all currently available antibiotics, leaving very limited choices for antimicrobial clinical therapy. In many such cases, polymyxins are the last option available, although their use increases the risk of developing resistant strains. This review mainly aims to discuss advances in unraveling the mechanisms of antibacterial activity of polymyxins and bacterial tolerance together with the description of polymyxin structure, synthesis, and structural modification. These are expected to help researchers not only develop a series of new polymyxin derivatives necessary for future medical care, but also optimize the clinical use of polymyxins with minimal resistance development.