beta-lactamase

noun
be·​ta-lac·​ta·​mase | \ ˈbā-tə-ˈlak-tə-ˌmās How to pronounce beta-lactamase (audio) , -ˌmāz \

Definition of beta-lactamase

: any of various bacterial enzymes that inactivate the penicillins and cephalosporins by hydrolyzing them When confronted with an antibiotic, a number of disease-causing bacteria will retaliate by making an enzyme called beta-lactamase— Diana Morgan and Terence Monmaney

First Known Use of beta-lactamase

1963, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for beta-lactamase

lactam, a cyclic amide (from International Scientific Vocabulary lact- + amide) + -ase

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The first known use of beta-lactamase was in 1963

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Dictionary Entries Near beta-lactamase

betake

beta-lactamase

Beta Leonis

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Cite this Entry

“Beta-lactamase.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/beta-lactamase. Accessed 4 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for beta-lactamase

beta-lactamase

noun
be·​ta-lac·​ta·​mase
variants: also β-lactamase \ -​ˈlak-​tə-​ˌmās, -​ˌmāz How to pronounce beta-lactamase (audio) \

Medical Definition of beta-lactamase

: any of various bacterial enzymes that inactivate beta-lactam antibiotics (such as penicillin and cephalosporin) by hydrolyzing them When confronted with an antibiotic, a number of disease-causing bacteria will retaliate by making an enzyme called beta-lactamase— Diana Morgan and Terence Monmaney, Science, July/August 1985 The most common mechanism of resistance to β-lactam antibiotics is the bacterial production of an enzyme called β-lactamase, which breaks one of the antibiotic's chemical bonds, changing its structure and preventing it from inhibiting the enzyme transpeptidase.— K. C. Nicolaou et al., Scientific American, May 2001

Note: Beta-lactamase was originally used only to refer to bacterial enzymes that inactivated penicillin. As additional types of beta-lactam antibiotics were introduced, other bacterial beta-lactamases were identified.

— compare penicillinase

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