Experimental Methods for Evaluating the Bacterial Uptake of Trojan Horse Antibacterials

James W Southwell, Conor M Black, Anne-Kathrin Duhme-Klair

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The field of antibacterial siderophore conjugates, referred to as Trojan Horse antibacterials, has received increasing attention in recent years, driven by the rise of antimicrobial resistance. Trojan Horse antibacterials offer an opportunity to exploit the specific pathways present in bacteria for active iron uptake, potentially allowing the drugs to bypass membrane-associated resistance mechanisms. Hence, the Trojan Horse approach might enable the redesigning of old antibiotics and the development of antibacterials that target specific pathogens. Critical parts of evaluating such Trojan Horse antibacterials and improving their design are the quantification of their bacterial uptake and the identification of the pathways by which this occurs. In this minireview, we highlight a selection of the biological and chemical methods used to study the uptake of Trojan Horse antibacterials, exemplified with case studies, some of which have led to drug candidates in clinical development or approved antibiotics.

Original languageEnglish
Early online date25 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2020

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