Journal Article

Metallo-β-Lactamases: A Class Apart

Karen Bush

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 27, issue Supplement_1, pages S48-S53
Published in print August 1998 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online August 1998 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI:
Metallo-β-Lactamases: A Class Apart

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Metallo-β-lactamases have recently become more prominent among the β-lactam-hydrolyzing enzymes. Two major functional groups of enzymes have been identified, with little structural similarity among the groups. One group is a set of enzymes with broad substrate specificities capable of hydrolyzing most β-lactams except monobactams. A second group is composed of the “true” carbapenemases, enzymes that exhibit poor hydrolysis of penicillins and cephalosporins. This latter group has been found primarily in Aeromonas species. To date, only a small number of carbapenemresistant isolates have been reported to produce metallo-β-lactamases, in part because of the ease with which this resistance can be acquired by other means: permeability changes and an increase in chromosomal cephalosporinase production. However, the appearance of these enzymes on plasmids in Japan poses a worrisome problem. It is anticipated that plasmid-mediated resistance to carbapenems will continue to increase, perhaps compromising the use of these agents.

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Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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