Lincosamides: Chemical structure, biosynthesis, mechanism of action, resistance, and applications

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Lincomycin and its derivatives are antibiotics exhibiting biological activity against bacteria, especially Gram-positive ones, and also protozoans. Lincomycin and its semi-synthetic chlorinated derivative clindamycin are widely used in clinical practice. Both antibiotics are bacteriostatic, inhibiting protein synthesis in sensitive bacteria; however, at higher concentrations, they may be bactericidal. Clindamycin is usually much more active than lincomycin in the treatment of bacterial infections, in particular those caused by anaerobic species; it can also be used for the treatment of important protozoal diseases, e.g. malaria, most effectively in combination with other antibiotic or non-antibiotic antimicrobials (primaquine, fosfidomycin, benzoyl peroxide). Chemical structures of lincosamide antibiotics and the biosynthesis of lincomycin and its genetic control have been summarized and described. Resistance to lincomycin and clindamycin may be caused by methylation of 23S ribosomal RNA, modification of the antibiotics by specific enzymes or active efflux from the bacterial cell.

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