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    ABSTRACT: Early after the introduction of the first (narrow spectrum) penicillins into clinical use, penicillinase-producing staphylococci replaced (worldwide) the previously susceptible microorganisms. Similarly, the extensive use of broad-spectrum, orally administered β-lactams (like ampicillin, amoxicillin or cefalexin) provided a favorable scenario for the selection of gram-negative microorganisms producing broad spectrum β-lactamases almost 45 years ago. These microorganisms could be controlled by the introduction of the so called "extended spectrum cephalosporins". However, overuse of these drugs resulted, after a few years, in the emergence of extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBLs) through point mutations in the existing broad-spectrum β-lactamases, such as TEM and SHV enzymes. Overuse of extended-spectrum β-lactams also gave rise to chromosomal mutations in regulatory genes which resulted in the overproduction of chromosomal AmpC genes, and, in other regions of the world, in the explosive emergence of other ESBL families, like the CTX-Ms. Carbapenems remained active on microorganisms harboring these extended-spectrum β-lactamases, while both carbapenems and fourth generation cephalosporins remained active towards those with derepressed (or the more recent plasmidic) AmpCs. However, microorganisms countered this assault by the emergence of the so called carbapenemases (both serine- and metallo- enzymes) which, in some cases, are actually capable of hydrolyzing almost all β-lactams including the carbapenems. Although all these enzyme families (some of them represented by hundreds of members) are for sure pre-dating the antibiotic era in environmental and clinically significant microorganisms, it was the misuse of these antibiotics that drove their evolution. This paper describes in detail each major class of β-lactamase including epidemiology, genetic, and biochemical evaluations.
    Current pharmaceutical design 08/2012; · 4.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: CTX-M enzymes, the plasmid-mediated cefotaximases, constitute a rapidly growing family of extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBLs) with significant clinical impact. CTX-Ms are found in at least 26 bacterial species, particularly in Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Proteus mirabilis. At least 109 members in CTX-M family are identified and can be divided into seven clusters based on their phylogeny. CTX-M-15 and CTX-M-14 are the most dominant variants. Chromosome-encoded intrinsic cefotaximases in Kluyvera spp. are proposed to be the progenitors of CTX-Ms, while ISEcp1, ISCR1 and plasmid are closely associated with their mobilization and dissemination.
    Critical Reviews in Microbiology 06/2012; · 5.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although antibiotic resistance has become a major threat to human health worldwide, this phenomenon has been largely overlooked in studies in environmental settings. Aquatic environments may provide an ideal setting for the acquisition and dissemination of antibiotic resistance, because they are frequently impacted by anthropogenic activities. This review focuses primarily on the emergence and dissemination of antibiotic resistance in the aquatic environment, with a special emphasis on the role of antibiotic resistance genes.
    Trends in Microbiology 01/2014; 22(1):36-41. · 8.43 Impact Factor