Understanding antibiotic resistance
Understanding antibiotic resistance

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Understanding antibiotic resistance

2.2 Inhibitors of protein synthesis

You learned in Activity 1 that cells synthesise new proteins in ribosomes which are made up of one large and one small subunit. These subunits differ structurally and chemically between prokaryotic and eukaryotic ribosomes (Figure 5). This provides antibiotic targets in the bacterial pathogen which are not present in the host cells.

Described image
Figure 5 Ribosome structure in (a) prokaryotes and (b) eukaryotes. The Svedberg unit (S) indicates the size, shape and density of each subunit.

Table 1 Examples of protein synthesis inhibitor antibiotic classes

Ribosomal target Outcome Antibiotic class Structure Example drug
Small (30S) subunit Errors give rise to faulty proteins that disrupt the cell membrane Aminoglycosides All contain amino sugar substructures (red) Streptomycin
Large (50S) subunit First steps of protein synthesis (initiation) are impaired and bacteria cannot grow and divide Oxazolidines All contain 2-oxazolidone (red) somewhere in their structure Linezolid
(OpenStax College Microbiology, n.d.)

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