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Tetracycline has a chemical formula of C22H24N2O8 and a molecular mass of 444.435 g/mol. Tetracycline is a broad-spectrum polyketide antibiotic produced by the Streptomyces bacterium, indicated for use against many bacterial infections. It is commonly used to treat acne. It is sold under the brand names Sumycin, Terramycin, Tetracyn, and Panmycin, among others. Actisite is a thread-like fiber form, used in dental applications. It is also used to produce several semi-synthetic derivatives, which together are known as the Tetracycline antibiotic group

Mode of action

It works by inhibiting action of the prokaryotic 30S ribosome, by binding aminoacyl-tRNA. However, bacteria strains can aquire resistance against tetracycline and its derivates by encoding a resistance operon. In eukaryotic cells, toxicity may be result of inactivation of mitochondrial 30S ribosomes.


The tetracyclines are a large family of antibiotics that were discovered as natural products by Benjamin Minge Duggar and first described in 1948.[1] Tetracycline was then discovered by Lloyd Conover in the research departments of Pfizer. The patent for tetracycline, U.S. Patent 2,624,354 , was first issued in 1950. However, Nubian mummies have been studied in the 1990s and were found to contain significant levels of tetracycline; there is evidence that the beer brewed at the time could have been the source.[2] Tetracycline sparked the development of many chemically altered antibiotics and in doing so has proved to be one of the most important discoveries made in the field of antibiotics. It is used to treat many gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria and some protozoa.


  1. Klajn, Rafal, Chemistry and chemical biology of tetracyclines, retrieved 20 June 2007.
  2. George Armelagos (May, 2000). Take Two Beers and Call Me in 1,600 Years - use of tetracycline by Nubians and Ancient Egyptians. American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved on 2007-12-19.
  3. Olson CA, et al. Bait ingestion by free-ranging raccoons and nontarget species in an oral rabies vaccine field trial in Florida. J Wildl Dis. 2000 Oct;36(4):734-43.
  4. Mayton CA. Tetracycline labeling of bone
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