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Biochemistry. 1999 Aug 3;38(31):10013-23.

On the mechanism of the metallo-beta-lactamase from Bacteroides fragilis.

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Department of Chemistry, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park 16802, USA.


The catalytic mechanism of metallo-beta-lactamase from Bacteroides fragilis, a dinuclear Zn(II)-containing enzyme responsible for multiple antibiotic resistance, has been investigated by using nitrocefin as a substrate. Rapid-scanning and single-wavelength stopped-flow studies revealed the accumulation during turnover of an enzyme-bound intermediate with intense absorbance at 665 nm (epsilon = 30 000 M(-1) cm(-1)). The proposed minimum kinetic mechanism for the B. fragilis metallo-beta-lactamase-catalyzed nitrocefin hydrolysis [Wang, Z., and Benkovic, S. J. (1998) J. Biol. Chem. 273, 22402-22408] was confirmed, and more accurate kinetic parameters were obtained from computer simulations and fitting. The intermediate was shown to be a novel anionic species bound to the enzyme through a Zn-acyl linkage and contains a negatively charged nitrogen leaving group. This is the first time such an intermediate was observed in the catalytic cycle of a Zn(II)-containing hydrolase and is evidence for a unique beta-lactam hydrolysis mechanism in which the amine can leave as an anion; prior protonation is not required. The electrostatic interaction between the negatively charged intermediate and the positively charged dinuclear Zn(II) center of the enzyme is important for stabilization of the intermediate. The catalytic reaction was accelerated in the presence of exogenous nucleophiles or anions, and neither the product nor the enzyme was modified during turnover, indicating that a Zn-bound hydroxide (rather than Asp-103) is the active site nucleophile. On the basis of all the information on hand, a catalytic mechanism of the B. fragilis metallo-beta-lactamase is proposed.

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