Cycloheximide is an inhibitor produced by the bacterium Streptomyces griseus. Given its peculiarities, it has an important role to play in biomedical research regarding the treatment of protein synthesis in eukaryotic cells in vitro. However, it also has significant deleterious effects.

For more information on cycloheximide, which falls into the antimicrobial group, read this article. As chemical suppliers, we at DC Fine Chemicals will go into it in depth. Remember that in our catalogue you will find a wide range of chemical products.

Inhibitory and blocking functions

Cycloheximide (CAS 66-81-9) is a semi-synthetic compound with antibiotic and antifungal activity. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, it is produced by the bacterium Streptomyces griseus, and can inhibit the synthesis process of eukaryotic cells, not prokaryotic cells.  Cycloheximide interacts directly with the enzyme translocase, as well as interfering with the translocation step, i.e. the peptide transferase activity of the 60S ribosome.

Due to these properties, it is widely used in biomedical research. Moreover, the action levels are extremely fast, and its effects can be reversed by removing the antimicrobial from the culture medium.

However, their particularities also include important toxic effects. These include DNA damage, teratogenesis, multiple reproductive effects such as congenital diseases or sperm toxicity, etc. With this in mind, cycloheximide is generally used mainly for in vitro research, and its use in humans as an antibiotic would be unthinkable. For this reason, although it has been used for decades as a fungicide in the agricultural sector, its application is gradually decreasing due to the health hazards involved.

As its characteristics and properties have been investigated, cycloheximide has been found to exhibit neuroprotective, fungicidal and even anticoronaviral activities. The compound is also used in laboratory environments as an agent to monitor the activity of pathogenic and non-pathogenic fungi, which in turn can be used to monitor the half-life of a protein in any cellular system.

Health risks

Cycloheximide is among the group of chemicals categorised as “acute toxicity (category 2)”, “long-term aquatic hazard (category 2)”, “germ cell mutagenicity (category 2)” and “reproductive toxicity (category 1B)”.

As noted above, it has toxic and harmful effects on human health. Some of these effects, which usually occur soon after exposure, are: skin and eye irritation; excessive salivation, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting; lack of balance, tremors or seizures. Long-term effects can be as severe as cancer or fetal development.

Therefore, it is essential to ask for special instructions before using cycloheximide, and to wear protection such as a mask or gloves, as well as to avoid its release into the environment. In case of contact or exposure, it is recommended to promptly contact a medical facility.

Product information

Catalogue Number: 104291
CAS number: 66-81-9
EC No: 200-636-0
Formula Hill: C₁₅H₂₃NO₄
Molar Mass: 281,35
HS code: 29419000
Clasification: Premium