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Biochemistry. 2008 Apr 1;47(13):4094-101. doi: 10.1021/bi702348w. Epub 2008 Mar 7.

Why clinically used tazobactam and sulbactam are poor inhibitors of OXA-10 beta-lactamase: Raman crystallographic evidence.

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Departments of Biochemistry, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, USA.


The clinically used inhibitors tazobactam and sulbactam are effective in the inhibition of activity of class A beta-lactamases, but not for class D beta-lactamases. The two inhibitors exhibit a complex multistep profile for their chemistry of inhibition with class A beta-lactamases. To compare the inhibition profiles for class A and D enzymes, the reactions were investigated within OXA-10 beta-lactamase (a class D enzyme) crystals using a Raman microscope. The favored reaction pathway appears to be distinctly different from that for class A beta-lactamases. In contrast to the case of class A enzymes that favor the formation of a key enamine species, the OXA-10 enzyme forms an alpha,beta-unsaturated acrylate (acid or ester). Quantum mechanical calculations support the likely product as the adduct of Ser115 to the acrylate. Few enamine-like species are formed by sulbactam or tazobactam with this enzyme. Taken together, our results show that the facile conversion of the initial imine, formed upon acylation of the active site Ser67, to the cis- and/or trans-enamine is disfavored. Instead, there is a significant population of the imine that could either experience cross-linking to a second nucleophile (e.g., Ser115) or give rise to the alpha,beta-unsaturated product and permanent inhibition. Alternatively, the imine can undergo hydrolysis to regenerate the catalytically active OXA-10 enzyme. This last process is the dominant one for class D beta-lactamases since the enzyme is not effectively inhibited. In contrast to sulbactam and tazobactam, the reactions between oxacillin or 6alpha-hydroxyisopropylpenicillinate (both substrates) and OXA-10 beta-lactamase appear much less complex. These compounds lead to a single acyl-enzyme species, the presence of which was confirmed by Raman and MALDI-TOF experiments.

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