Evolution and dissemination of beta-lactamases accelerated by generations of beta-lactam antibiotics

Clin Infect Dis. 1997 Jan;24 Suppl 1:S19-45. doi: 10.1093/clinids/24.supplement_1.s19.


beta-Lactamases are the principal mechanism of bacterial resistance to beta-lactam antibiotics. In recent years the number and variety of new beta-lactamases detected has risen at an alarming rate, apparently in response to the clinical use of novel classes of beta-lactam antibiotics. This paper reviews the structure and evolution of beta-lactamases in an attempt to understand the pressures that have contributed to their emergence.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents* / pharmacology
  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Bacteria / enzymology
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Molecular Structure
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • beta-Lactam Resistance* / genetics
  • beta-Lactam Resistance* / physiology
  • beta-Lactamases* / chemistry
  • beta-Lactamases* / classification
  • beta-Lactamases* / physiology
  • beta-Lactams


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • beta-Lactams
  • beta-Lactamases