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Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2001;18 Suppl 1:S3-10.

Macrolides: structures and microbial targets.

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Pfizer Global Research and Development, Pfizer Central Research, Groton, CT 06340, USA.


The macrolide class of antibiotics is well established and often recommended for use in the treatment of community-acquired respiratory tract infections. A number of agents with varying antimicrobial activity have been developed via chemical modification of the core macrolide structure, a macrocyclic lactam ring. Although structurally diverse, the macrolides share a common ability to bind to the bacterial 50S ribosome subunit and inhibit protein synthesis, thereby preventing bacterial multiplication. Resistance in the clinic is due to modification of the 50S subunit in the area of the peptidyl transferase center or to an efflux pump. The newer macrolides, and in particular azithromycin, with their broad-spectrum microbiological profile have extended the therapeutic uses of this class of antibiotics and ensured that they remain an integral part of the clinician's armamentarium.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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