Penicillin

Penicillin is the most thoroughly studied of a group of antibiotics that interfere with peptidoglycan synthesis. Penicillin binds to proteins involved in cell wall synthesis and, subsequently, prevents the cross-linking of adjacent glycan chains. ■ penicillin, p. 514 Generally, but with notable exceptions, penicillin is far more effective against Gram-positive cells than Gram-negative cells. This is because the outer membrane of Gram-negative cells prevents the medication from reaching its site of action, the peptidoglycan layer. However, the structure of penicillin can be modified to create penicillin derivatives that can pass through porin channels. These drugs are effective against a range of Gram-negative bacteria. ■ penicillin-derivatives, p. 514

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