The neglected contribution of streptomycin to the tuberculosis drug resistance problem

Deisy M.G.C. Rocha, Miguel Viveiros, Margarida Saraiva, Nuno S. Osório

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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The airborne pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis is responsible for a present major public health problem worsened by the emergence of drug resistance. M. tuberculosis has acquired and developed streptomycin (STR) resistance mechanisms that have been maintained and transmitted in the population over the last decades. Indeed, STR resistant mutations are frequently identified across the main M. tuberculosis lineages that cause tuberculosis outbreaks worldwide. The spread of STR resistance is likely related to the low impact of the most frequent underlying mutations on the fitness of the bacteria. The withdrawal of STR from the first-line treatment of tuberculosis potentially lowered the importance of studying STR resistance. However, the prevalence of STR resistance remains very high, could be underestimated by current genotypic methods, and was found in outbreaks of multi-drug (MDR) and extensively drug (XDR) strains in different geographic regions. Therefore, the contribution of STR resistance to the problem of tuberculosis drug resistance should not be neglected. Here, we review the impact of STR resistance and detail well-known and novel candidate STR resistance mechanisms, genes, and mutations. In addition, we aim to provide insights into the possible role of STR resistance in the development of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2003
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2021


  • Antibiotic
  • Drug-resistance
  • Lineages
  • Multidrug-resistance
  • Mutations
  • Mycobacterium
  • Resistance level
  • Streptomycin
  • Tuberculosis


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