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Biochemistry. 2003 Aug 5;42(30):8945-56.

Modeling domino effects in enzymes: molecular basis of the substrate specificity of the bacterial metallo-beta-lactamases IMP-1 and IMP-6.

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Institute of Technical Biochemistry, University of Stuttgart, Allmandring 31, 70569 Stuttgart, Germany.


Metallo-beta-lactamases can hydrolyze a broad spectrum of beta-lactam antibiotics and thus confer resistance to bacteria. For the Pseudomonas aeruginosa enzyme IMP-1, several variants have been reported. IMP-6 and IMP-1 differ by a single residue (glycine and serine at position 196, respectively), but have significantly different substrate spectra; while the catalytic efficiency toward the two cephalosporins cephalothin and cefotaxime is similar for both variants, IMP-1 is up to 10-fold more efficient than IMP-6 toward cephaloridine and ceftazidime. Interestingly, this biochemical effect is caused by a residue remote from the active site. The substrate-specific impact of residue 196 was studied by molecular dynamics simulations using a cationic dummy atom approach for the zinc ions. Substrates were docked in an intermediate structure near the transition state to the binding site of IMP-1 and IMP-6. At a simulation temperature of 100 K, most complexes were stable during 1 ns of simulation time. However, at higher temperatures, some complexes became unstable and the substrate changed to a nonactive conformation. To model stability, six molecular dynamics simulations at 100 K were carried out for all enzyme-substrate complexes. Stable structures were further heated to 200 and 300 K. By counting stable structures, we derived a stability ranking score which correlated with experimentally determined catalytic efficiency. The use of a stability score as an indicator of catalytic efficiency of metalloenzymes is novel, and the study of substrates in a near-transition state intermediate structure is superior to the modeling of Michaelis complexes. The remote effect of residue 196 can be described by a domino effect: upon replacement of serine with glycine, a hole is created and a stabilizing interaction between Ser196 and Lys33 disappears, rendering the neighboring residues more flexible; this increased flexibility is then transferred to the active site.

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