Antimicrobial targets

What is an antimicrobial drug target?

Antimicrobial targets are components of microbial cells that are either not present or are present in a very different form compared to host cells (like human or animal cells). If you consider how different a bacterial cell is to a human cell you might think there are hundreds of drug targets, however, as life all works on the same general principles of encoding gene in DNA nad making proteins it can be difficult to find something different enough and important enough to target with a drug.

Below, in the table, is a summary of commonly targeted microbial components and the drugs that affect them.

Table with 6 rows and four columns named: “Target”, “Drug”, “Action”, and “Outcome”. For the first target, bacterial transpeptidase, the drug is a beta-lactam, it prevents the production of the cell wall by inhibiting cross linking enzyme, and the outcome is breakdown of cell wall and lysis of bacterial cell. For the second target, DNA gyrase, the drug is a quinolone, it hijacks enzymes to create breaks in the DNA, and its action prevents DNA replication and growth. For the third target, bacterial ribosome, the drug is lincosamide, it prevents ribosomal translocation and protein production, thus arresting cell growth. For the fourth target, DNA, the drug is nitroimidazole, it converts to an active form only inside bacteria and damages DNA, thus preventing nucleic acid formation, growth and replication. For the last target, RNA polymerase, the drug is rifamycin, it prevents the production of RNA by inactivating polymerase enzyme, thus arresting cell growth and replication.