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Acc Chem Res. 2006 Oct;39(10):721-8.

Metallo-beta-lactamases: novel weaponry for antibiotic resistance in bacteria.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, 160 Hughes Hall, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056, USA.


Metallo-beta-lactamases are broad-spectrum zinc enzymes, able to inactivate most clinically useful beta-lactam antibiotics. Their structural and functional diversity has thus far limited the understanding of their catalytic mechanism, therefore thwarting the rational design of a common inhibitor. On the basis of the recent availability of structures of enzyme-product complexes and novel mechanistic studies, here, we attempt to find minimal common elements in different members of this family. In contrast with other metalloenzymes, most of the substrate binding and catalytic power resides in the adequate positioning of one or two Zn(II) ions in the active site, empowered by an unusual flexibility.

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