Send to

Choose Destination
J Antimicrob Chemother. 2004 Apr;53(4):592-9. Epub 2004 Feb 25.

Comparison of tetracycline and tigecycline binding to ribosomes mapped by dimethylsulphate and drug-directed Fe2+ cleavage of 16S rRNA.

Author information

Institut für Mikrobiologie, Biochemie und Genetik, Universität Erlangen, Erlangen, Germany.



The new antibiotic tigecycline (9-t-butylglycylamido-minocycline; GAR-936) overcomes most of the known tetracycline resistance mechanisms. Here we analyse its mode of antibiotic action by probing 70S ribosomes of Escherichia coli with dimethylsulphate (DMS) and Fe(2+)-mediated cleavage to identify binding sites of tetracycline and tigecycline.


Fe(2+)-mediated cleavage makes use of the ability of Fe2+ to replace the Mg2+ ion complexed with tetracyclines. After addition of H2O2, Fe2+ generates short-lived, highly reactive hydroxyl radicals that can cleave RNA close to the tetracycline binding sites.


We identified three prominent Fe(2+)-mediated cleavage sites in helices 29 and 34, and in the internal loop of helix 31 of 16S rRNA in the presence of tetracycline or tigecycline. Qualitatively, these sites are modified identically by both antibiotics, but quantitative differences observed in the cleavage intensities indicate that the drugs bind in slightly different orientations. These results are supported by DMS modification, mutational analysis of 16S rRNA and structural modelling of tigecycline at a tetracycline-binding site in the 30S ribosomal subunit.


Both derivatives bind to identical or overlapping sites and probably share the same mode of antibiotic action. The fact that tigecycline overcomes most of the known tetracycline resistance mechanisms is interpreted as a result of steric hindrance due to the large substituent at position 9.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center