Structural basis for carbapenem-hydrolyzing mechanisms of carbapenemases conferring antibiotic resistance

International Journal of Molecular Sciences
Jeong Ho JeonSang Hee Lee


Carbapenems (imipenem, meropenem, biapenem, ertapenem, and doripenem) are β-lactam antimicrobial agents. Because carbapenems have the broadest spectra among all β-lactams and are primarily used to treat infections by multi-resistant Gram-negative bacteria, the emergence and spread of carbapenemases became a major public health concern. Carbapenemases are the most versatile family of β-lactamases that are able to hydrolyze carbapenems and many other β-lactams. According to the dependency of divalent cations for enzyme activation, carbapenemases can be divided into metallo-carbapenemases (zinc-dependent class B) and non-metallo-carbapenemases (zinc-independent classes A, C, and D). Many studies have provided various carbapenemase structures. Here we present a comprehensive and systematic review of three-dimensional structures of carbapenemase-carbapenem complexes as well as those of carbapenemases. We update recent studies in understanding the enzymatic mechanism of each class of carbapenemase, and summarize structural insights about regions and residues that are important in acquiring the carbapenemase activity.


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Carbapenems are members of the beta lactam class of antibiotics and are used for the treatment of severe or high-risk bacterial infections. Discover the latest research on carbapenems here.

Carbapenems (ASM)

Carbapenems are members of the beta lactam class of antibiotics and are used for the treatment of severe or high-risk bacterial infections. Discover the latest research on carbapenems here.

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