Antimicrobial resistance conferred by OXA-48 β-lactamases: towards a detailed mechanistic understanding

Viivi H A Hirvonen*, James Spencer*, Marc W Van Der Kamp*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review (Academic Journal)peer-review


OXA-48-type β-lactamases are now routinely encountered in bacterial infections caused by carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales. These enzymes are of high and growing clinical significance due to the importance of carbapenems in treatment of healthcare-associated infections by Gram-negative bacteria, the wide and increasing dissemination of OXA-48 enzymes on plasmids, and the challenges posed by their detection. OXA-48 confers resistance to penicillin (which is efficiently hydrolyzed) and carbapenem antibiotics (more slowly broken down). In addition to the parent enzyme, a growing array of variants of OXA-48 is now emerging. The spectrum of activity of these variants varies, with some hydrolyzing expanded-spectrum oxyimino-cephalosporins. The growth in importance and diversity of the OXA-48 group has motivated increasing numbers of studies that aim to elucidate the relationship between structure and specificity and establish the mechanistic basis for β-lactam turnover in this enzyme family. In this review we collate recently published structural, kinetic, and mechanistic information on the interactions between clinically relevant β-lactam antibiotics and inhibitors with OXA-48 β-lactamases. Collectively, these studies are starting to form a detailed picture of the underlying bases for the differences in β-lactam specificity between OXA-48 variants, and the consequent differences in resistance phenotype. We focus specifically on aspects of carbapenemase and cephalosporinase activities of OXA-48 β-lactamases and discuss β-lactamase inhibitor development in this context. Throughout the review, we also outline key open research questions for future investigation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Early online date22 Mar 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Mar 2021

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