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File:Kanamycin A.svg
Systematic (IUPAC) name
2-(aminomethyl)- 6-[4,6-diamino-3- [4-amino-3,5-dihydroxy-6-(hydroxymethyl) tetrahydropyran-2-yl]oxy- 2-hydroxy- cyclohexoxy]- tetrahydropyran- 3,4,5-triol
Clinical data
  • D
Routes of
Oral, intravenous, intramuscular
Legal status
Legal status
  •  ?
Pharmacokinetic data
Bioavailability very low after oral delivery
Metabolism Unknown
Biological half-life 2 hours 30 minutes
Excretion Urine (as unchanged drug)
CAS Number 59-01-8
ATC code A07AA08 (WHO) J01GB04 S01AA24
PubChem CID 6032
DrugBank APRD00026
Chemical data
Formula C18H36N4O11
Molar mass 484.499[[Script error: No such module "String".]]
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Kanamycin sulfate is an aminoglycoside antibiotic, available in both oral and intravenous forms, and used to treat a wide variety of infections. Kanamycin is isolated from Streptomyces kanamyceticus[1].


Kanamycin interacts with the 30S subunit of prokaryotic ribosomes. It induces substantial amounts of mistranslation and indirectly inhibits translocation during protein synthesis[2][3].

Side effects

Serious side effects include tinnitus or loss of hearing, toxicity to kidneys, and allergic reactions to the drug.[4]

Use in research

Kanamycin is used in molecular biology as a selective agent most commonly to isolate bacteria (e.g., E. coli) which have taken up genes (e.g., of plasmids) coupled to a gene coding for kanamycin resistance (primarily Neomycin phosphotransferase II [NPT II/Neo]). Bacteria that have been transformed with a plasmid containing the kanamycin resistance gene are plated on kanamycin (50-100ug/ml) containing agar plates or are grown in media containing kanamycin (50-100ug/ml). Only the bacteria that have successfully taken up the kanamycin resistance gene become resistant and will grow under these conditions. As a powder kanamycin is white to off-white and is soluble in water (50mg/ml).

Mammalian cells and other eukaryotes are screened using G418, a similar aminoglycoside antibiotic, which KanMX confers resistance against.

At least one such gene, Atwbc19[5] is native to a plant species, of comparatively large size and its coded protein acts in a manner which decreases the possibility of Horizontal Gene Transfer from the plant to bacteria; it may be incapable of giving resistance to kanamycin to bacteria even if gene transfer occurs.


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ar:كاناميسين de:Kanamycine es:Kanamicina fr:Kanamycine it:Kanamicina ja:カナマイシン pl:Kanamycyna pt:Canamicina ru:Канамицин sl:Kanamicin sr:Kanamicin th:กานามัยซิน

  1. Garrod, L.P., et al.: "Antibiotic and Chemotherapy", page 131. Churchill Livingstone, 1981
  2. Pestka, S.: "The Use of Inhibitors in Studies on Protein Synthesis", Methods in Enzymology 30, pp.261-282, 1975
  3. Misumi, M. & Tanaka, N.: "Mechanism of Inhibition of Translocation by Kanamycin and Viomycin: A Comparative Study with Fusidic Acid, Biochem.Biophys.Res.Commun. 92, pp.647-654, 1980
  4. Consumer Drug Information: Kanamycin, 2 April 2008, retrieved 2008-05-04 
  5. Horizontal Gene Transfer: Plant vs. Bacterial Genes for Antibiotic Resistance Scenario's—What's the Difference?