The bacterial ribosome as a target for antibiotics

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2005 Nov;3(11):870-81. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro1265.


Many clinically useful antibiotics exert their antimicrobial effects by blocking protein synthesis on the bacterial ribosome. The structure of the ribosome has recently been determined by X-ray crystallography, revealing the molecular details of the antibiotic-binding sites. The crystal data explain many earlier biochemical and genetic observations, including how drugs exercise their inhibitory effects, how some drugs in combination enhance or impede each other's binding, and how alterations to ribosomal components confer resistance. The crystal structures also provide insight as to how existing drugs might be derivatized (or novel drugs created) to improve binding and circumvent resistance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / metabolism
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Bacteria / ultrastructure
  • Binding Sites
  • Drug Resistance
  • Macrolides / chemistry
  • Macrolides / metabolism
  • Macrolides / pharmacology
  • Models, Molecular
  • Ribosomal Proteins / metabolism
  • Ribosomes / chemistry
  • Ribosomes / drug effects*
  • Ribosomes / metabolism


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Macrolides
  • Ribosomal Proteins