Multidrug-Resistant Enterococcal Infections: New Compounds, Novel Antimicrobial Therapies?
Roel M. van Harten, Rob J.L. Willems, Nathaniel I. Martin, Antoni P.A. Hendrickx
Department of Medical Microbiology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Heidelberglaan 100, 3584 CX Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Over the past two decades infections due to antibiotic-resistant bacteria have escalated world-wide, affecting patient morbidity, mortality, and health care costs. Among these bacteria, Enterococcus faecium and Enterococcus faecalis represent opportunistic nosocomial pathogens that cause difficult-to-treat infections because of intrinsic and acquired resistance to a plethora of antibiotics. In recent years, a number of novel antimicrobial compound classes have been discovered and developed that target Gram-positive bacteria, including E. faecium and E. faecalis. These new antibacterial agents include teixobactin (targeting lipid II and lipid III), lipopeptides derived from nisin (targeting lipid II), dimeric vancomycin analogues (targeting lipid II), sortase transpeptidase inhibitors (targeting the sortase enzyme), alanine racemase inhibitors, lipoteichoic acid synthesis inhibitors (targeting LtaS), various oxazolidinones (targeting the bacterial ribosome), and tarocins (interfering with teichoic acid biosynthesis). The targets of these novel compounds and mode of action make them very promising for further antimicrobial drug development and future treatment of Gram-positive bacterial infections. Here we review current knowledge of the most favorable anti-enterococcal compounds along with their implicated modes of action and efficacy in animal models to project their possible future use in the clinical setting.