Bacterial adaptation strategies to host-derived fatty acids

Arnaud Kengmo Tchoupa, Bart A. Eijkelkamp, Andreas Peschel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
35 Downloads (Pure)


Fatty acids (FAs) are potent antimicrobials which hold great promise as viable alternatives or complements to conventional antibiotics. Intriguingly, bacteria are well equipped to use environmental FAs as energy sources and/or building blocks for their membrane lipids. Furthermore, these microbes display a wide array of mechanisms to prevent or mitigate FA toxicity. In this review we discuss strategies that bacteria use to thrive despite extensive exposure to host-derived antimicrobial FAs. We also highlight the altered response of these FA-adapted bacteria to antibiotics. Given the ubiquitous nature of FAs in various host environments, deciphering bacterial adaptation strategies to FAs is of prime importance. This knowledge may pave the way for a rational design of FA-based combination therapies with antibiotics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-253
Number of pages13
JournalTrends in Microbiology
Issue number3
Early online date1 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • adaptation strategies
  • antimicrobial fatty acids
  • antimicrobial resistance
  • bacterial pathogens
  • host–microbe interactions

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