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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Mechanism of suppression of piperacillin resistance in enterobacteria by tazobactam.

Resistance to piperacillin in several isolates of Citrobacter freundii and Enterobacter cloacae was investigated and confirmed to occur at a frequency of 10(-7) to 10(-6). Development of resistance to piperacillin was significantly suppressed by tazobactam but not by clavulanic acid. To elucidate the mechanism by which resistance suppression occurs, the effect of piperacillin plus tazobactam on the induction of AmpC beta-lactamase was analyzed by monitoring the beta-galactosidase activity of an inducible ampC-lacZ gene fusion in Escherichia coli. The combination exerted no inhibitory effect on AmpC beta-lactamase induction. Tazobactam also had no effect on the accumulation of a key intermediate in the AmpC beta-lactamase induction pathway, 1,6-anhydromurotripeptide, in an ampD mutant strain of E. coli. However, the addition of tazobactam to liquid cultures of E. cloacae 40001 in the presence of piperacillin at four times the MIC caused a delay in the recovery of the culture to piperacillin-induced stress. At 16 times the MIC, a complete suppression of regrowth occurred. Analysis of culture viability on piperacillin plates showed that the culture recovery was due to growth by moderately resistant mutants preexisting in the cell population, which at 16 times the MIC became susceptible to the combination. Evidence from the kinetics of inhibition of the E. cloacae 40001 AmpC beta-lactamase by clavulanic acid, sulbactam, and tazobactam and from the effects of these drugs on the frequency of resistance to piperacillin suggests that the suppressive effect of tazobactam on the appearance of resistance is primarily mediated by the beta-lactamase inhibitory activity.[1]


  1. Mechanism of suppression of piperacillin resistance in enterobacteria by tazobactam. Kadima, T.A., Weiner, J.H. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. (1997) [Pubmed]
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