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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2004 Sep;61(17):2200-23.

Resistance to beta-lactam antibiotics.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Queen's University, K7L 3N6, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.


beta-lactams have a long history in the treatment of infectious diseases, though their use has been and continues to be confounded by the development of resistance in target organisms. beta-lactamases, particularly in Gram-negative pathogens, are a major determinant of this resistance, although alterations in the beta-lactam targets, the penicillin-binding proteins (PBPs), are also important, especially in Gram-positive pathogens. Mechanisms for the efflux and/or exclusion of these agents also contribute, though often in conjunction these other two. Approaches for overcoming these resistance mechanisms include the development of novel beta-lactamase-stable beta-lactams, beta-lactamase inhibitors to be employed with existing beta-lactams, beta-lactam compounds that bind strongly to low-affinity PBPs and agents that potentiate the activity of existing beta-lactams against low-affinity PBP-producing organisms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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