Thermus Thermophilus as a Model System for the Study of Ribosomal Antibiotic Resistance

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Date of Original Version



Ribosomes are the intracellular ribonucleoprotein machines responsible for the translation of mRNA sequence into protein sequence. As an essential cell component, the ribosome is the target of numerous antibiotics that bind to critical functional sites to impair protein synthesis. Mutations causing resistance to antibiotics arise in antibiotic binding sites, and an understanding of the basis of resistance will be an essential component of efforts to develop new antibiotics by rational drug design. We have identified a number of antibiotic-resistance mutations in ribosomal genes of the thermophilic bacterium Thermus thermophilus. This species offers two primary advantages for examining the structural basis of antibiotic-resistance, in particular, its potential for genetic manipulation and the suitability of its ribosomes for analysis by X-ray crystallography. Mutations we have identified in this organism are in many instances identical to those found in other bacterial species, including important pathogens, a result of the extreme conservation of ribosome functional sites. Here I summarize the advantages of this organism as a model system to study antibiotic-resistance mechanisms at the molecular level.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science