The struggle to control infectious diseases has become increasingly difficult due to resistance to current antibiotics and the co-existence of multiplying and non-multiplying bacteria, which makes it an urgent task to discover new antibiotic targets and to develop new antibiotics. Hydrogenases are found in micro-organisms belonging to the archaea and bacteria domains, which can catalyse the reversible oxidation of hydrogen gas (H2↔2H++2e) and play pleiotropic roles in microbial survival. Studies have shown that H2 is a potent antioxidant and can selectively neutralize OH (hydroxyl radicals). OH, however, has been implicated as one of the mechanisms whereby bactericidal antibiotics and professional phagocytes kill bacteria. Thus we have enough reason to speculate that hydrogenases and H2 are conducive to increasing the virulence and antibiotic resistance of bacteria, and hydrogenase inhibitors would help control bacterial infection.

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