Ribosome-targeting antibiotics and mechanisms of bacterial resistance

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2014 Jan;12(1):35-48. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro3155.


The ribosome is one of the main antibiotic targets in the bacterial cell. Crystal structures of naturally produced antibiotics and their semi-synthetic derivatives bound to ribosomal particles have provided unparalleled insight into their mechanisms of action, and they are also facilitating the design of more effective antibiotics for targeting multidrug-resistant bacteria. In this Review, I discuss the recent structural insights into the mechanism of action of ribosome-targeting antibiotics and the molecular mechanisms of bacterial resistance, in addition to the approaches that are being pursued for the production of improved drugs that inhibit bacterial protein synthesis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial*
  • Protein Biosynthesis / drug effects
  • Protein Conformation
  • Ribosomes / drug effects*
  • Ribosomes / metabolism


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Bacterial Proteins