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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2000 Aug;44(8):2182-4.

Selection of naturally occurring extended-spectrum TEM beta-lactamase variants by fluctuating beta-lactam pressure.

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Servicio de Microbiología, Hospital Ramón y Cajal, Madrid 28034, Spain.


Despite the large number of in vitro mutations that increase resistance to extended-spectrum cephalosporins in TEM-type beta-lactamases, only a small number occur in naturally occurring enzymes. In nature, and particularly in the hospital, bacteria that contain beta-lactamases encounter simultaneous or consecutive selective pressure with different beta-lactam molecules. All variants obtained by submitting an Escherichia coli strain that contains a bla(TEM-1) gene to fluctuating challenge with both ceftazidime and amoxicillin contained only mutations previously detected in naturally occurring beta-lactamases. Nevertheless, some variants obtained by ceftazidime challenge alone contained mutations never detected in naturally occurring TEM beta-lactamases, suggesting that extended-spectrum TEM variants in hospital isolates result from fluctuating selective pressure with several beta-lactams rather than selection with a single antibiotic.

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