Sensitizing pathogens to antibiotics using the CRISPR-Cas system

Moran Goren, Ido Yosef, Udi Qimron*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The extensive use of antibiotics over the last century has resulted in a significant artificial selection pressure for antibiotic-resistant pathogens to evolve. Various strategies to fight these pathogens have been introduced including new antibiotics, naturally-derived enzymes/peptides that specifically target pathogens and bacteriophages that lyse these pathogens. A new tool has recently been introduced in the fight against drug-resistant pathogens–the prokaryotic defense mechanism–clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats-CRISPR associated (CRISPR-Cas) system. The CRISPR-Cas system acts as a nuclease that can be guided to cleave any target DNA, allowing sophisticated, yet feasible, manipulations of pathogens. Here, we review pioneering studies that use the CRISPR-Cas system to specifically edit bacterial populations, eliminate their resistance genes and combine these two strategies in order to produce an artificial selection pressure for antibiotic-sensitive pathogens. We suggest that intelligent design of this system, along with efficient delivery tools into pathogens, may significantly reduce the threat of antibiotic-resistant pathogens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalDrug Resistance Updates
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017


FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation268/14
Ministry of Health, State of Israel9988-3


    • Antibiotic resistance
    • Bacteriophage delivery vectors
    • ESKAPE pathogens
    • Selective pressure


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