Extended-pectrum beta-lactamases: An actual problem of hospital microbiology (A review)

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Although there is a variety of mechanisms of bacterial resistance to beta-lactam antibiotics, the most important one is production of beta-lactamases inactivating penicillins and cephalosporins. The classification of beta-lactamases is based on biochemical, enzymological (i.e. molecular structure, inhibitory property, substrate-profile, relative rate of hydrolysis) and immunological characters. Extended-spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBLs) can be derived from TEM or SHV enzymes. These enzymes have now been sequenced and it has been found that relatively few point mutations have occurred in the gene of the TEM and SHV type enzymes. These point mutations clustered in five areas of the gene. The amino acid mutations can alter the conformation, the active site and change the hydrance of beta-lactamase-cephalosporin binding capacity. So the enzyme is able to bind and hydrolyse the third generation cephalosporins. Successive mutation interacted radically increasing the binding capacity of enzymes and confer resistance to newer cephalosporins. The use of these drugs provides a strong selective pressure to develop these mutations. Sporadic nosocomial outbreaks due to strains producing an ESBL led to an epidemic problem in some hospitals resulting in a concurrent dissemination of genes, plasmids or strains. Clinical epidemiological importance and role of ESBLs and emergence of multiply resistance of bacteria of nosocomial importance are discussed in this brief.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-325
Number of pages17
JournalActa microbiologica et immunologica Hungarica
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 1997


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)

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