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Introduction: Stenotrophomonas maltophilia is a prototype of bacteria intrinsically resistant to antibiotics. The reduced susceptibility of this microorganism to antimicrobials mainly relies on the presence in its chromosome of genes encoding efflux pumps and antibiotic inactivating enzymes. Consequently, the therapeutic options for treating S. maltophilia infections are limited.Areas covered: Known mechanisms of intrinsic, acquired and phenotypic resistance to antibiotics of S. maltophilia and the consequences of such resistance for treating S. maltophilia infections are discussed. Acquisition of some genes, mainly those involved in co-trimoxazole resistance, contributes to acquired resistance. Mutation, mainly in the regulators of chromosomally-encoded antibiotic resistance genes, is a major cause for S. maltophilia acquisition of resistance. The expression of some of these genes is triggered by specific signals or stressors, which can lead to transient phenotypic resistance.Expert opinion: Treatment of S. maltophilia infections is difficult because this organism presents low susceptibility to antibiotics. Besides, it can acquire resistance to antimicrobials currently in use. Particularly problematic is the selection of mutants overexpressing efflux pumps since they present a multidrug resistance phenotype. The use of novel antimicrobials alone or in combination, together with the development of efflux pumps' inhibitors may help in fighting S. maltophilia infections.


Teresa Gil-Gil, José Luis Martínez, Paula Blanco. Mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance in Stenotrophomonas maltophilia: a review of current knowledge. Expert review of anti-infective therapy. 2020 Apr;18(4):335-347

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PMID: 32052662

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