Controlling mutation: Intervening in evolution as a therapeutic strategy Academic Article uri icon

publication date

  • 2007

abstract

  • Mutation is the driving force behind many processes linked to human disease, including cancer, aging, and the evolution of drug resistance. Mutations have traditionally been considered the inevitable consequence of replicating large genomes with polymerases of finite fidelity. Observations over the past several decades, however, have led to a new perspective on the process of mutagenesis. It has become clear that, under some circumstances, mutagenesis is a regulated process that requires the induction of pro-mutagenic enzymes and that, at least in bacteria, this induction may facilitate evolution. Herein, we review what is known about induced mutagenesis in bacteria as well as evidence that it contributes to the evolution of antibiotic resistance. Finally, we discuss the possibility that components of induced mutation pathways might be targeted for inhibition as a novel therapeutic strategy to prevent the evolution of antibiotic resistance.