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  • 1 Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunobiology, Albert Szent-Györgyi Medical Centre, Faculty of Medicine, University of Szeged Dóm tér 10, H-6720 Szeged, Hungary
  • 2 Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunobiology, Albert Szent-Györgyi Medical Centre, Faculty of Medicine, University of Szeged Dóm tér 10, H-6720 Szeged, Hungary
  • 3 Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunobiology, Albert Szent-Györgyi Medical Centre, Faculty of Medicine, University of Szeged Dóm tér 10, H-6720 Szeged, Hungary
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Various bacterial plasmids can be eliminated from bacterial species cultured as pure or mixed bacterial cultures by non-mutagenic heterocyclic compounds at subinhibitory concentrations. For plasmid curing, the replication should be inhibited at three different levels simultaneously: the intracellular replication of plasmid DNA, partition and intercellular transconjugal transfer. The antiplasmid action of the compounds depends on the chemical structure.  The targets for antiplasmid compounds were analysed in detail. It was found that amplified extrachromosomal DNA in the superhelical state binds more drug molecules than does the linear or open-circular form of the plasmid or the chromosome, without stereospecificity which leads to functional inactivation of the extrachromosomal genetic code. Plasmid elimination also occurs in ecosystems containing numerous bacterial species simultaneously, but the elimination of antibiotic resistance-encoding plasmids from all individual cells of the population is never complete.  The medical significance of plasmid elimination in vitro is, it provides a method to isolate plasmid-free bacteria for biotechnology without any risk of mutations, and it opens up a new perspective in rational drug design against bacterial plasmids.  Hypothetically, the combination of antiplasmid drugs and antibiotics may improve the effectivity of antibiotics against resistant bacteria; therefore, the results cannot be exploited until the curing efficiency reaches 100%. Inhibition of the conjugational transfer of antibiotic resistance plasmids can be exploited to reduce the spreading of these plasmids in ecosystems.

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