Journal of Biomedical Science

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 5–14

Aminoglycosides versus bacteria – a description of the action, resistance mechanism, and nosocomial battleground


  • Shazi Shakil
    • Interdisciplinary Biotechnology UnitAligarh Muslim University
  • Rosina Khan
    • Interdisciplinary Biotechnology UnitAligarh Muslim University
  • Raffaele Zarrilli
    • Dipartimento di Scienze Mediche PreventiveUniversità di Napoli ‘Federico II’
    • Interdisciplinary Biotechnology UnitAligarh Muslim University

DOI: 10.1007/s11373-007-9194-y

Cite this article as:
Shakil, S., Khan, R., Zarrilli, R. et al. J Biomed Sci (2008) 15: 5. doi:10.1007/s11373-007-9194-y


Since 1944, we have come a long way using aminoglycosides as antibiotics. Bacteria also have got them selected with hardier resistance mechanisms. Aminoglycosides are aminocyclitols that kill bacteria by inhibiting protein synthesis as they bind to the 16S rRNA and by disrupting the integrity of bacterial cell membrane. Aminoglycoside resistance mechanisms include: (a) the deactivation of aminoglycosides by N-acetylation, adenylylation or O-phosphorylation, (b) the reduction of the intracellular concentration of aminoglycosides by changes in outer membrane permeability, decreased inner membrane transport, active efflux, and drug trapping, (c) the alteration of the 30S ribosomal subunit target by mutation, and (d) methylation of the aminoglycoside binding site. There is an alarming increase in resistance outbreaks in hospital setting. Our review explores the molecular understanding of aminoglycoside action and resistance with an aim to minimize the spread of resistance.


aminoglycoside-modifying enzymesaminoglycoside resistancedrug resistancehospital infectionnosocomial infectionresistance mechanismspread of resistance

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© National Science Council Taipei 2007