Cell wall synthesis inhibitors are antimicrobial agents that work by preventing the synthesis of the bacterial cell wall, leading to the bacterium’s death. Cell wall synthesis inhibitors are mainly used to treat, prevent, or control bacterial infections, including pneumonia, bronchitis, meningitis, and urinary tract infections. These inhibitors disrupt the biosynthesis of critical components of the bacterial cell wall, such as peptidoglycan, lipoarabinomannan, and teichoic acids.
There are several classes of cell wall synthesis inhibitors, including beta-lactam antibiotics, glycopeptides, and fosfomycin.
Beta-lactam antibiotics, such as penicillins, cephalosporins, carbapenems, and monobactams, work by interfering with the transpeptidation reaction, which is essential for the crosslinking of peptidoglycan in the cell wall. These inhibitors bind to penicillin-binding proteins (PBPs), which are responsible for the synthesis and assembly of the cell wall. As a result, the bacterial cell wall becomes weakened, leading to cell lysis and death.
Glycopeptides, such as vancomycin, work by inhibiting the synthesis of peptidoglycan by binding to its precursor molecules, thereby preventing the formation of glycan chains. This leads to the destabilization of the cell wall, causing the bacterial cell to die.
Fosfomycin, on the other hand, works by inhibiting the enzyme enolpyruvate transferase, which is involved in the synthesis of peptidoglycan. By inhibiting this enzyme, fosfomycin blocks the synthesis of peptidoglycan and causes the bacterial cell wall to weaken, leading to cell death.
Cell wall synthesis inhibitors are generally safe and effective but may have adverse effects, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, allergic reactions, and other side effects specific to each inhibitor. Some bacteria may be resistant to certain classes of cell wall synthesis inhibitors, and in such cases, alternative antimicrobial agents may be used.