antibiotics work and how resistance to these antibiotics occurs. I try to reassure them that this knowledge is not really necessary for being a good doctor, unless you want to become a Microbiologist; I can only assume this question is asked a lot in medical school exams.
First, a quick reminder of the anatomy of bacteria. The flagella and plasmid have no role in antibiotic mechanisms of action or how bacteria mount resistance.
Essentially there are only 5 basic mechanism of action or sites within the bacteria where antibiotics work and 4 basic mechanisms of resistance or how the bacteria launches a survival response. Learn these first and then start to slot your knowledge of individual classes of antibiotics into these groups.
Mechanisms of Action
Antibiotics either work in the bacteria’s cytoplasm, on its chromosome, at its cell membrane, on its ribosome or at its cell wall.
Bacteria develop resistance in 4 ways; in effect it is the bacteria’s survival response to the action of the antibiotic, which is trying to kill it.