Life and Medical Sciences
Cell & Developmental Biology
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
Rifamycin is a clinically useful macrolide antibiotic produced by the gram positive bacterium. Amycolatopsis mediterranei. This antibiotic is primarily used against Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium leprae, causative agents of tuberculosis and leprosy, respectively. In these bacteria, rifamycin treatment specifically inhibits the initiation of RNA synthesis by binding to β-subunit of RNA polymerase. Apart from its activity against the bacteria, rifamycin has also been reported to inhibit reverse transcriptase (RT) of certain RNA viruses. Recently, rifamycin derivatives have been dis-covered that are effective against Mycobacterium avium, which is associated with the AIDS complex. Consequently, the importance of and demand for rifamycin has increased tremendously, the world over. In this article, recent trends in rifamycin research and accessability of recombinant DNA techniques to increase rifamycin production are reviewed.
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