Nature Reviews Microbiology 3, 870-881 (November 2005) | doi:10.1038/nrmicro1265

The bacterial ribosome as a target for antibiotics

Jacob Poehlsgaard1 & Stephen Douthwaite1  About the authors


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.

Author affiliations

  1. Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, University of Southern Denmark, DK-5230 Odense M, Denmark.

Correspondence to: Stephen Douthwaite1 Email:

Published online 2 October 2005


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