PMID: 44383Sep 1, 1979

Does penicillin kill bacteria?

Reviews of Infectious Diseases
G D ShockmanM Mychajlonka

Abstract

The thesis is presented that the bactericidal action of penicillin and of other inhibitors of cell wall peptidoglycan synthesis, such as vancomycin and cycloserine, is secondary or tertiary to their ability inhibit specific reactions in the assembly of an osmotically protective cell wall. Examples are given of the inhibition of these reactions, which results in inhibition of cell growth (bacteriostatic action) in the absence of either cellular lysis or rapid loss of viability. Thus, in some instances, inhibitory concentrations of these drugs are, in effect, sublethal; this is true, for example, for Streptococcus mutans, a species of bacteria that is part of the normal flora of the oropharynx and that can cause subacute bacterial endocarditis. On the other hand, the damaging effects of the subminimal inhibitory concentrations of penicillin G on Streptococcus faecalis, a species with an active autolytic enzyme system, can be uncovered and converted to a lytic (and lethal) response by partial inhibition of fatty acid synthesis with low concentrations of cerulenin. Some theoretical and practical implications of the occurrence and inhibition of these secondary lethal consequences are discussed.

References

Mar 1, 1982·Archives of Microbiology·J WeckeP Giesbrecht
Feb 18, 2003·APMIS : Acta Pathologica, Microbiologica, Et Immunologica Scandinavica·Isaac Ginsburg
Apr 1, 1980·Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy·M MychajlonkaG D Shockman
Sep 15, 2001·Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy·A L Koch
Jun 1, 1988·Oral Microbiology and Immunology·L A Jonooby, T A Kral
Nov 29, 2012·Dalton Transactions : an International Journal of Inorganic Chemistry·Jingbo LiuSajid Bashir
Sep 1, 1987·Oral Microbiology and Immunology·J W Norys, T A Kral
Jan 1, 1989·Scandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases. Supplementum·I Odenholt-Tornqvist

Related Concepts

Pathologic Cytolysis
Vancomycin
Vancomycin Assay
Entire Oropharynx
Cycloserine
Autolysis
Pseudomurein
Cell Wall
Subacute Bacterial Endocarditis
Metabolic Inhibition

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