Beta-lactamase

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Beta-lactamases are enzymes (EC 3.5.2.6) produced by some bacteria and are responsible for their resistance to beta-lactam antibiotics like penicillins, cephamycins, and carbapenems (ertapenem). (Cephalosporins are relatively resistant to beta-lactamase.) These antibiotics have a common element in their molecular structure: a four-atom ring known as a beta-lactam. The lactamase enzyme breaks that ring open, deactivating the molecule's antibacterial properties.

Beta-lactam antibiotics are typically used to treat a broad spectrum of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Beta-lactamases produced by Gram-negative organisms are usually secreted.

The structure of a Streptomyces β lactamase is given by 1BSG.

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