Antibiotics by Mechanism of Action

Browse antibiotics by effect on cellular functions

What is the mechanism of action?

The mechanism of action is the biochemical way in which a drug is pharmacologically effective. This can be a specific target where the drug binds like an enzyme, as is the case with many antibiotics, or a receptor. Mechanism of action describes the biochemical process specifically at a molecular level.

Antimicrobial or antibiotic modes of action

Antibacterial action generally falls within one of four mechanisms, three of which involve the inhibition or regulation of enzymes involved in cell wall biosynthesis, nucleic acid metabolism and repair, or protein synthesis, respectively. The fourth mechanism involves the disruption of membrane structure. Many of these cellular functions targeted by antibiotics are most active in multiplying cells. Since there is often overlap in these functions between prokaryotic bacterial cells and eukaryotic mammalian cells, it is not surprising that some antibiotics have also been found to be useful as anticancer agents.

Use the Antibiotic Selector to quickly search or browse for the best antibiotic based on your application. Also take advantage of this tool to find antibiotic usage information such as solubility, solution stability, and working concentration.