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Chapter 2 : Introduction to Major Antibiotic Classes and Modes of Action

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Abstract:

Major antibacterial drugs in current human use can be categorized in multiple ways. One is by economic impact and the other is by the bacterial diseases they are prescribed to treat. While the antitubercular drug rifampin and the carbapenem version of the β-lactam imipenem are listed in this chapter, representative brand names are also indicated, as well as infections for which these drugs have been utilized and where clinically significant resistance had been detected. These classes of antibiotics are taken up in detail in the chapter, with discussions of mechanisms of action, modes of resistance development, and prospects for development of new versions to overcome resistance. The gram-positive still causes millions of deaths annually. The historical scourges of plague and cholera are caused by two gram-negative bacteria, and , respectively, while , and strains are common causes of diarrheal diseases. The gram-negative is often described as an opportunistic pathogen, causing disease in settings where the patient may have compromised immunity. The mechanisms of action of most antibacterial drugs were worked out after the discovery that the molecules had effects on bacterial growth, either slowing growth dramatically (bacteriostatic) or killing the bacteria (bactericidal). The cell wall biosynthetic processes and protein biosynthesis on the ribosome historically have been the site of action of the largest number of antibiotics, perhaps because of the many enzymatic steps, which offer multiple opportunities for disrupting key attributes of a healthy bacterial cell.

Citation: Walsh C. 2003. Introduction to Major Antibiotic Classes and Modes of Action, p 13-20. In Antibiotics. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817886.ch2

Key Concept Ranking

Bacterial Diseases
0.72864616
Cell Wall Biosynthesis
0.47225824
Urinary Tract Infections
0.4469427
Toxic Shock Syndrome
0.4469427
Urinary Tract Infections
0.4469427
Toxic Shock Syndrome
0.4469427
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
0.42792383
0.72864616
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Figures

Image of Color Plate 2.1
Color Plate 2.1

Gram stains of gram-positive (A) and gramnegative (B). (From Elliot et al., 1997.)

Citation: Walsh C. 2003. Introduction to Major Antibiotic Classes and Modes of Action, p 13-20. In Antibiotics. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817886.ch2
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Image of Figure 2.1
Figure 2.1

Citation: Walsh C. 2003. Introduction to Major Antibiotic Classes and Modes of Action, p 13-20. In Antibiotics. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817886.ch2
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Image of Figure 2.2
Figure 2.2

Major targets for antibacterial action. (Adapted from a poster on Mechanisms of Antibiotic Action and Resistance, C. Walsh, J. Trauger, P. Courvalin, and J. Davies [2001], .)

Citation: Walsh C. 2003. Introduction to Major Antibiotic Classes and Modes of Action, p 13-20. In Antibiotics. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817886.ch2
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References

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Tables

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Table 2.1

Antibiotic sales in 1997

Citation: Walsh C. 2003. Introduction to Major Antibiotic Classes and Modes of Action, p 13-20. In Antibiotics. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817886.ch2
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Table 2.2

Antibiotic market in 1995

Citation: Walsh C. 2003. Introduction to Major Antibiotic Classes and Modes of Action, p 13-20. In Antibiotics. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817886.ch2
Generic image for table
Table 2.3

Bacteria that are common causes of infections

Citation: Walsh C. 2003. Introduction to Major Antibiotic Classes and Modes of Action, p 13-20. In Antibiotics. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817886.ch2
Generic image for table
Table 2.4

Summary of typical first-line approach for antibiotic treatment

Citation: Walsh C. 2003. Introduction to Major Antibiotic Classes and Modes of Action, p 13-20. In Antibiotics. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817886.ch2
Generic image for table
Table 2.5

Major antibiotics: structural classes, targets, and resistance mechanisms

Citation: Walsh C. 2003. Introduction to Major Antibiotic Classes and Modes of Action, p 13-20. In Antibiotics. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817886.ch2

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