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Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 165, Issue 6, pp 359–369 | Cite as

Tetracyclines: antibiotic action, uptake, and resistance mechanisms

  • Dirk Schnappinger
  • W. Hillen
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Abstract

Tetracyclines probably penetrate bacterial cells by passive diffusion and inhibit bacterial growth by interfering with protein synthesis or by destroying the membrane. A growing number of various bacterial species acquire resistance to the bacteriostatic activity of tetracycline. The two widespread mechanisms of bacterial resistance do not destroy tetracycline: one is mediated by efflux pumps, the other involves an EF-G-like protein that confers ribosome protection. Oxidative destruction of tetracycline has been found in a few species. Several efflux transporters, including multidrug-resistance pumps and tetracycline-specific exporters, confer bacterial resistance against tetracycline. Single amino acids of these carrier proteins important for tetracycline transport and substrate specificity have been identified, allowing the mechanism of tetracycline transport to begin to emerge.

Key words Antibiotic resistance Tetracycline resistance Ribosomal protection Efflux pumps Multidrug resistance Tetracycline-proton antiporters 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dirk Schnappinger
    • 1
  • W. Hillen
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Mikrobiologie, Biochemie und Genetik der Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Staudtstrasse. 5, D-91058 Erlangen, Germany Tel. +49-9131-858081; Fax +49-9131-858082 e-mail whillen@biologie.uni-erlangen.deDE

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