A substantial number of antimicrobial agents target some activity of the bacterial ribosome for inhibition. Mechanistic studies and recent structural investigations of the ribosome have identified the binding sites and presumed mechanism of inhibitory activity for some compounds. A second target for many of these antibiotics has recently been examined. Formation of both 30S and 50S ribosomal subunits in bacterial cells is impaired by translational inhibitors. For many antimicrobial agents, inhibition of this target is equivalent to inhibition of translation in preventing cell growth. This review will describe features of this new target including the types of compounds which affect particle assembly and differences in the process in different microorganisms. The characteristics of this new target will be identified and aspects of a model to explain this new inhibitory activity will be explored.
Keywords: ribosomes, 30s ribosomal subunit, 50s ribosomal subunit, antibiotics
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