• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!


Significance of a Ribosome

Page history last edited by Devi Singh 14 years, 2 months ago


Medical Significance of Ribosomes

Antibiotic: a substance that kills or inhibits the growth of bacteria. Antibiotics can be classified mainly by their chemical structure.

Broad-spectrum antibiotic combats against a wide range of bacteria including both Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria.

Narrow-spectrum antibiotic  combats against only specific families of bacteria.

Humans can combat bacterial infections by exploiting the structural differences between Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic cells. Because ribosome structure differs between bacteria and humans, many antibiotics work by preventing protein synthesis therefore, the ribosome becomes inhibited.[15]


Common 30s Bacterial Ribosomal subunit Inhibitors include:

Aminoglycosides- Inhibits mRNA and therefore prevents the start of protein synthesis.

-Streptomycin: used to combat tuberculosis as well as gram negative bacteria in large animals (equine, bovine) [8]

-Kanamycin: broad spectrum antibiotic used for short term treatment of serious infections [11]

Macrolides-   These block the receptor site of tRNA on the 30S subunit.

Tetracylines : broad spectrum agent used in the treatment of infections of the respiratory tract, sinuses, middle ear, urinary tract and intestines. [15]


Common 50s Bacterial Ribosomal subunit Inhibitors include:  

-Erythromycin: similar to penicillin and used if there is a allergy to the aforementioned drug. It is commonly used in respiratory tract infections and it prevents translocation on the 50S subunit.

-Lincomycin: high risk of side effects and toxicity, therefore it is only administered to patients who have developed resistance or are allergic to antibiotics such as penicillin. [4]

- Chloramphenicol: broad spectrum that is used alongside tetracyclins and it prevents the activity of peptidyl transferase on the 50S subunit.







Resistance to Antibiotics:                                                      




  Intrinsic Resistance: Some forms of bacteria are naturally more resistant antibiotics due to structural differences. For example, Gram positive bacteria are more susceptible to penicillin than gram negative bacteria due to its thick peptidoglycan wall.

Acquire Resistance: Natural selection for bacteria who have been exposed to certain antibiotics and have developed resistance to them.


Resistance is due to random mutation of the bacterial cell or genetic transfer of resistant genes from one cell to another for example through conjugation and plasmids. [15]


Although bacteria can be targeted effectively by antibiotics that target structural differences between human cells and bacterial cells (like the ribosome), bacteria can render the antibiotic useless by modifying themselves through various ways including:

-Synthesis or modifications of enzymes that can eventually break down the antibiotic

-Modifying receptors on the bacteria so that antibiotic cannot recognize its target


Major uses of ribosomes worth mentioning:

  • Production of insulin by ribosomes and micro organisms  to meet high demands and producing insulin that may be most genetically alike humans insulin. 
  • Ribosomes are utilized as taxonomic tools which act as landmarks to identify specific proteins.
  • Based on ribosome composition organisms can be accurately and specifically classified. [13]


 Future Significance

Targeting ribosomes to develop more effective antibiotics is promising. The fact that side effects can be minimized for the hosts because of structural differences of the ribosome can lead to better treatment and control of diseases spread via bacteria. Also, understanding the unique structural differences between Eukaryotic and Prokaryotic ribosomes can lead to significant contributions to developing antibiotics that are less susceptible to resistance.





YouTube plugin error  



Home Page       Nobel prize winners      Ribosome Structure    Function of a Ribosome    References









Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.