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antibiotic drugs targeting the ribosome

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The ribosome, one of the ubiquitous molecular machines in living cells, is responsible for the critical task of translating the genetic code into functional proteins (See also Managing the Protein Assembly Line). The bacterial ribosome is the target of over 50% antibiotic drugs, for example, the clinically important macrolide family, including the widely-prescribed erythromycin (ERY) which is on the WHO essential medicines list. The antibiotic action of macrolide drugs has been known for over 50 years, however, the molecular mechanisms underlying the effects of these drugs are still unknown. It was previously believed that the antibiotic action by macrolide drugs has to be assisted by the presence of a nascent protein inside the ribosome. However, in a recent study, computational investigations jointly with biochemical experiments have revealed that the macrolide drugs can take an antibiotic action by altering the structure of the bacterial ribosome before translation of nascent protein really begins. Please see more highlights on translational control of the ribosome: Born to Control, Shutting Down the Protein Factory. Read more on our Ribosome website.