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PLoS One. 2011;6(9):e24621. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0024621. Epub 2011 Sep 8.

Structure of apo- and monometalated forms of NDM-1--a highly potent carbapenem-hydrolyzing metallo-β-lactamase.

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  • 1Midwest Center for Structural Genomics and Structural Biology Center, Biosciences, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois, United States of America.


The New Delhi Metallo-β-lactamase (NDM-1) gene makes multiple pathogenic microorganisms resistant to all known β-lactam antibiotics. The rapid emergence of NDM-1 has been linked to mobile plasmids that move between different strains resulting in world-wide dissemination. Biochemical studies revealed that NDM-1 is capable of efficiently hydrolyzing a wide range of β-lactams, including many carbapenems considered as "last resort" antibiotics. The crystal structures of metal-free apo- and monozinc forms of NDM-1 presented here revealed an enlarged and flexible active site of class B1 metallo-β-lactamase. This site is capable of accommodating many β-lactam substrates by having many of the catalytic residues on flexible loops, which explains the observed extended spectrum activity of this zinc dependent β-lactamase. Indeed, five loops contribute "keg" residues in the active site including side chains involved in metal binding. Loop 1 in particular, shows conformational flexibility, apparently related to the acceptance and positioning of substrates for cleavage by a zinc-activated water molecule.

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