How do antibiotics affect peptidoglycan?

1 Answer
Jul 2, 2014

Antibacterial antibiotics are commonly classified based on their mechanism of action, chemical structure, or spectrum of activity.

Most target bacterial functions or growth processes.
Those that target the bacterial cell wall, which is made of peptidoglycan , (penicillins and cephalosporins) or the cell membrane (polymyxins), or interfere with essential bacterial enzymes (rifamycins, lipiarmycins, quinolones, and sulfonamides) have bactericidal activities.

Names of a few of these narrow spectrum antibiotics that affect the wall are:
These are all based on beta lactamase antibiotics (penicillin).

Those that target protein synthesis (macrolides, lincosamides and tetracyclines) are usually bacteriostatic (with the exception of bactericidal aminoglycosides).

Further categorization is based on their target specificity. "Narrow-spectrum" antibacterial antibiotics target specific types of bacteria, such as Gram-negative or Gram-positive bacteria, whereas broad-spectrum antibiotics affect a wide range of bacteria.

Following a 40-year hiatus in discovering new classes of antibacterial compounds, four new classes of antibacterial antibiotics have been brought into clinical use: cyclic lipopeptides (such as daptomycin), glycylcyclines (such as tigecycline), oxazolidinones (such as linezolid), and lipiarmycins (such as fidaxomicin).