We have compared the influence of spectinomycin (Spc) on individual partial reactions during the elongation phase of translation in vitro by wild-type and mutant ribosomes. The data show that the antibiotic specifically inhibits the elongation factor G (EF-G) cycle supported by wild-type ribosomes. In addition, we have reproduced the in vivo Spc resistant phenotype of relevant ribosome mutants in our in vitro translation system. In particular, three mutants with alterations at position 1192 in 16S rRNA as well as an rpsE mutant with an alteration of protein S5 were analysed. All of these ribosomal mutants confer a degree of Spc resistance for the EF-G cycle in vitro that is correlated with the degree of growth rate resistance to the antibiotic in culture.