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Biochemistry. 2008 Aug 19;47(33):8590-9. doi: 10.1021/bi8006912. Epub 2008 Jul 25.

Engineered mononuclear variants in Bacillus cereus metallo-beta-lactamase BcII are inactive.

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IBR (Instituto de Biologia Molecular y Celular de Rosario), CONICET, Facultad de Ciencias Bioquimicas y Farmaceuticas, Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Suipacha 531, (S2002LRK) Rosario, Argentina.


Metallo-beta-lactamases (MbetaLs) are zinc enzymes able to hydrolyze almost all beta-lactam antibiotics, rendering them inactive, at the same time endowing bacteria high levels of resistance. The design of inhibitors active against all classes of MbetaLs has been hampered by their structural diversity and by the heterogeneity in metal content in enzymes from different sources. BcII is the metallo-beta-lactamase from Bacillus cereus, which is found in both the mononuclear and dinuclear forms. Despite extensive studies, there is still controversy about the nature of the active BcII species. Here we have designed two mutant enzymes in which each one of the metal binding sites was selectively removed. Both mutants were almost inactive, despite preserving most of the structural features of each metal site. These results reveal that neither site isolated in the MbetaL scaffold is sufficient to render a fully active enzyme. This suggests that only the dinuclear species is active or that the mononuclear variants can be active only if aided by other residues that would be metal ligands in the dinuclear species.

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