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Mechanism of Action of Tuberculosis Drugs

Mechanisms of Action of Current TB Drugs

Illustration showing the mechanism of action of current TB drugs:
Isoniazid inhibits cell wall synthesis; Thioamides inhibit cell wall synthesis; Nitroimidazole inhibits mycolic acid synthesis; Ethambutol inhibits cell wall synthesis; Cycloserine inhibits cell wall synthesis; Pyrazinamide disrupts plasma membrane and energy metabolism, but the exact target is unclear; Diarylquinoline inhibits ATP synthase; Rifampin inhibits RNA synthesis but is bacteria are resistant; PAD inhibits synthesis of DNA precursors; Fluoroquinolones inhibit DNA Gyrase and are effective on all except XDR TB; Cyclic Peptides inhibit protein sysnthesis; Aminoglycosides inhibit protein synthesis; and Injectable Second-Line Drugs, Kanamycin, Capreomycin and Amilacom. target protein synthesis but bacteria are resistant to at least one of the three.

Tuberculosis drugs target various aspects of Mycobacterium tuberculosis​ biology, including inhibition of cell wall synthesis, protein synthesis, or nucleic acid synthesis. For some drugs, the mechanisms of action have not been fully identified.

Mechanisms of Action of TB Drugs Under Development

Illustration showing the mechanism of action of TB drugs under development: Nitroimidazoles inhibit mycolic acid and other targets; SQ-109 inhibits cell wall synthesis; Meropenem inhibits peptidoglycan synthesis; Benzothiazinones inhibit cell wall synthesis; Imidazopyridine Amide inhibits cylochrome oxidase; Rifamycins (Rifapentine) inhibits RNA synthesis; Oxazolidones (Linezolid and Sutezolid) inhibit protein synthesis; Macrolides inhibit protein synthesis.

Tuberculosis drugs target various aspects of Mycobacterium tuberculosis biology, including inhibition of cell wall synthesis, protein synthesis, or nucleic acid synthesis. For some drugs, the mechanisms of action have not been fully identified.

Additional Information

Photo Credit: The photo of Mycobacterium tuberculosis is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC/Dr. Ray Butler, Janice Carr.
Illustration Credit: This illustration is in the public domain. Please credit the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
Illustrator: Krista Townsend

Last Updated April 19, 2016