Throwing a spanner in the works: antibiotics and the translation apparatus

J Mol Med (Berl). 1996 Aug;74(8):423-39. doi: 10.1007/BF00217518.


The protein synthetic machinery is essential to all living cells and is one of the major targets for antibiotics. Knowledge of the structure and function of the ribosome and its associated factors is key to understanding the mechanism of drug action. Conversely, drugs have been used as tools to probe the translation cycle, thus providing a means to further our understanding of the steps that lead to protein synthesis. Our current understanding as to how antibiotics disrupt this process is reviewed here, with particular emphasis on the prokaryotic elongation cycle and those drugs that interact with ribosomal RNAs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / metabolism
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Base Sequence
  • Binding Sites / drug effects
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Escherichia coli / chemistry
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Peptidyl Transferases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Protein Biosynthesis / drug effects
  • Protein Biosynthesis / genetics*
  • Ribosomes / chemistry


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Peptidyl Transferases