beta-lactamase

noun be·ta-lac·ta·mase \ ˈbā-tə-ˈlak-tə-ˌmās , -ˌmāz \

Definition of beta-lactamase

:any of various bacterial enzymes that inactivate the penicillins and cephalsporins 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

Origin and Etymology of beta-lactamase

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


Medical Dictionary

beta-lactamase

noun be·ta-lac·ta·mase
variants: also β-lactamase \-ˈlak-tə-ˌmās, -ˌmāz\

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 MonmaneyScienceJuly/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 AmericanMay 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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