An antibiotic first isolated from cultures of <i>Streptomyces venequelae</i> in 1947 but now produced synthetically. It has a relatively simple structure and was the first broad-spectrum antibiotic to be discovered. It acts by interfering with bacterial protein synthesis and is mainly bacteriostatic. (From Martindale, The Extra Pharmacopoeia, 29th ed, p106)
Used in treatment of cholera, as it destroys the vibrios and decreases the diarrhea. It is effective against tetracycline-resistant vibrios. It is also used in eye drops or ointment to treat bacterial conjunctivitis.
Chloramphenicol is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that was derived from the bacterium Streptomyces venezuelae and is now produced synthetically. Chloramphenicol is effective against a wide variety of microorganisms, but due to serious side-effects (e.g., damage to the bone marrow, including aplastic anemia) in humans, it is usually reserved for the treatment of serious and life-threatening infections (e.g., typhoid fever). Chloramphenicol is bacteriostatic but may be bactericidal in high concentrations or when used against highly susceptible organisms. Chloramphenicol stops bacterial growth by binding to the bacterial ribosome (blocking peptidyl transferase) and inhibiting protein synthesis.
Mechanism of action
Chloramphenicol is lipid-soluble, allowing it to diffuse through the bacterial cell membrane. It then reversibly binds to the L16 protein of the 50S subunit of bacterial ribosomes, where transfer of amino acids to growing peptide chains is prevented (perhaps by suppression of peptidyl transferase activity), thus inhibiting peptide bond formation and subsequent protein synthesis.
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