Penicillin exerts its effect on bacterial growth through inhibition of cell-wall synthesis. This antibiotic blocks the last step in the formation of the cell wall. Glycopeptide transpeptidase is a bacterial enzyme that catalyzes the cross-linking reaction between peptidoglycan molecules, which are the main constituents of the cell wall. Penicillin inhibits the enzyme by binding covalently to its active site. The penicillin-enzyme complex cannot react further.
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