Resistance to antibiotics used in the treatment of bacterial infections is an expanding clinical problem. Aminoglycosides, one of the oldest classes of natural product antibiotics, exert their bactericidal effect as the result of inhibiting bacterial protein synthesis by binding to the acceptor site of the 30 S ribosomal subunit. The most common mechanism of clinical resistance to aminoglycosides results from the expression of enzymes that covalently modify the aminoglycoside. We will discuss the enzymology and structure of two representative chromosomally encoded aminoglycoside N-acetyltransferases, Mycobacterium tuberculosis AAC(2´)-Ic and Salmonella enterica AAC(6´)-Iy, and speculate about their possible physiological function and substrates.

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