An antibiotic is a substance of biological origin (produced by microorganisms) or synthetic which, when administered to humans or animals infected by bacteria, is able to control the infection by destroying the germs (bactericidal action) or by preventing their proliferation (bacteriostatic action).
Antibiotics act through different mechanisms of action:
– Alteration of the wall or membrane (this is the case for antibiotics of the β-lactam family, glycopeptides, polypeptides, lipopeptides, fosfomycin, polymyxins)
– Inhibition of protein synthesis (macrolides, streptogramins, tetracyclines, aminoglycosides or aminoglycosides, phenicoles, fusidic acid, lincosamides, pleuromutilines, oxazolidinones)
– Inhibition of nucleic acid synthesis (quinolones, aromatic nitroheterocyclic compounds, ansamycins)
– Alteration of folic acid metabolism leading to a decrease in purine synthesis (sulfonamides, nitrofurans).