Exploring antibiotic resistance with chemical tools
Antibiotic resistance is an enormous problem that is accountable for over a million deaths annually, with numbers expected to significantly increase over the coming decades. Although some of the underlying causes leading up to antibiotic resistance are well understood, many of the molecular processes involved remain elusive. To better appreciate at a molecular level how resistance emerges, customized chemical biology tools can offer a solution. This Feature Article attempts to provide an overview of the wide variety of tools that have been developed over the last decade, by highlighting some of the more illustrative examples. These include the use of fluorescent, photoaffinity and activatable antibiotics and bacterial components to start to unravel the molecular mechanisms involved in resistance. The antibiotic crisis is an eminent global threat and requires the continuous development of creative chemical tools to dissect and ultimately counteract resistance.