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Antibiotics: Mechanisms of Action Send Print

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Created: Wednesday, 07 April 2004
Last update: Wednesday, 11 August 2010
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The term “antibiotic” generally refers to one of a number of natural or synthetic compounds that inhibit the growth of microorganisms either reversibly (microbistatic) or irreversibly (microbicidal). The targets of antibiotic action are most often the metabolic steps involved in the biosynthesis of polymeric materials essential to life (e.g., cell wall, DNA, RNA, protein).

For an excellent resource book on this topic, please see Antibiotics: Actions, Origins, Resistance by Christopher Walsh, ASM Press, 2003.

This "animated" PowerPoint presentation can be utilized in the classroom to provide:
1. An introduction to the mechanisms of action of antibiotics.
2. A detailed pathway of cell wall synthesis, indicating sites of inhibition.
3. Drawings indicating structural similarity between wall antibiotics and wall components.
4. An overview and mnemonics regarding inhibitors of replication, transcription, translation, and folate synthesis.
5. An overview of agents of physical and chemical control of microorganisms (sterilants, disinfectants, antiseptics).

Please note: the tutorial above is optimized for Microsoft Internet Explorer and will not work in Netscape Navigator. In Internet Explorer, upon clicking on the link to the tutorial above, you will see frames containing the outline and the slide show. You may use the outline on the left-hand side to scroll through the slide show. In the lower right-hand corner of your screen there is a "Full slide show" icon. If you click on this, you will be able to view the full slide show with sound effects. Use the space bar to advance the slides and use the ESC key to exit the slide show at any time.

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Tags: Cell biology (255) , Microbes in humans (382) , Teaching and learning (375)