Resistance to antibiotics is a severe problem in contemporary medicine. Many antibiotics inhibit protein biosynthesis by hampering the ribosome function. Structures of bacterial ribosomes in complex with these antibiotics illuminated common pathways of antibiotics inhibitory action, but not the species-specific diversity in infectious-diseases susceptibility.
Recent structural studies on ribosome from a multi-resistant pathogenic bacterium and careful comparisons to ribosomes from non-pathogenic bacteria revealed novel structural motifs, essential to protein biosynthesis but not located in the primary ribosomal active sites, hence no mechanism for modification leading to resistance of these sites is currently known. These led to the design of antibiotics with desired properties that can be optimized in terms of their chemical properties, toxicity and penetration, alongside species-specificity, thus preserving the microbiome, as well as in terms of bio degradability, thus reducing the ecological hazards caused by the spread of the current antibiotics’ metabolites.