Antibiotic resistance, along with the resolution of antibiotic-ribosomal subunit complexes at the atomic level, has provided new insights into modifications of clinically relevant antimicrobials that target the ribosome. Modifications to the aminoglycoside or negamycin scaffolds have been reported in the past, but few derivatives appear to be greatly improved compared to their parent compound. Computational and/or traditional screening efforts have yielded novel compounds that bind to the decoding site of the small (30S) ribosomal subunit; naphthyridones appear to bind only in the presence of poly(U) and tRNAPhe, whereas quinolines bind in a similar manner to aminoglycosides. Streptogramin B analogs were designed that have an amide replacement of the labile ester bond. The resultant molecules were not substrates for the inactivating lyase, but were no longer inhibitors of translation. The synthesis of 16-membered macrolides that are modified at the C6 position with peptidyl moieties as well as conjugates of chloramphenicol to either nucleotide groups or pyrene have been described, but no antibacterial activity has been reported. X-ray crystal structures are now available that can be used to improve on natural or synthetic antibiotics that bind to either the 30S or the 50S ribosomal subunit. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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