- One in a class of antibiotics that includes Biaxin, Clarithromycin, Ery-Tab, and Erythromycin. The macrolides inhibit the growth of bacteria and are often prescribed to treat rather common bacterial infections. In more technical terms, the macrolides are a group of antibiotics produced by various strains of Streptomyces (spore forming bacteria that grow slowly in soil or water as a branching filamentous mycelium similar to that of fungi) and have a complex chemical (macrocyclic) structure. They act by inhibiting protein synthesis, specifically by blocking the 50S ribosomal subunit. They are broad spectrum antibiotics.
* * *A natural lactone, whose ring is large, usually of 14–20 atoms; several antibiotics, including erythromycin, are macrolides. They inhibit protein biosynthesis.
* * *mac·ro·lide 'mak-rə-.līd n any of several antibiotics (as erythromycin) containing a macrocyclic lactone ring that are produced by actinomycetes of the genus Streptomyces and inhibit bacterial protein synthesis
* * *mac·ro·lide (makґro-līd) 1. a chemical compound characterized by a large lactone ring containing multiple keto and hydroxyl groups. 2. any of a large group of antibacterial antibiotics containing a macrolide ring linked glycosidically to one or more sugars; they are produced by certain species of Streptomyces and inhibit protein synthesis by binding to the 50S subunits of 70S ribosomes. Examples include erythromycin, azithromycin, and clarithromycin.
Medical dictionary. 2011.