The role of nitroreductases in resistance to nitroimidazoles

Carol Thomas, Christopher D. Gwenin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Antimicrobial resistance is a major challenge facing modern medicine, with an estimated 700,000 people dying annually and a global cost in excess of $100 trillion. This has led to an increased need to develop new, effective treatments. This review focuses on nitroimidazoles, which have seen a resurgence in interest due to their broad spectrum of activity against anaerobic Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria. The role of nitroreductases is to activate the antimicrobial by reducing the nitro group. A decrease in the activity of nitroreductases is associated with resistance. This review will discuss the resistance mechanisms of different disease organisms, including Mycobacterium tuber-culosis, Helicobacter pylori and Staphylococcus aureus, and how these impact the effectiveness of specific nitroimidazoles. Perspectives in the field of nitroimidazole drug development are also summarised.

Original languageEnglish
Article number388
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Metronidazole
  • Mitromidazole
  • Nim genes
  • Nitroreductases

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