Mechanism of Action

Chloramphenicol (Chloromycetin) is a nitrobenzene derivative that affects protein synthesis by binding to the 50S ribosomal subunit and preventing peptide bond formation. It prevents the attachment of the amino acid end of aminoacyl-tRNA to the A site, hence the association of peptidyltransferase with the amino acid substrate. Resistance due to changes in the ribosome-binding site results in a decreased affinity for the drug, decreased permeability, and plasmids that code for enzymes that degrade the antibiotic.

The drug-induced inhibition of mitochondrial protein synthesis is probably responsible for the associated toxicity.

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