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J Am Chem Soc. 2008 Nov 26;130(47):15852-63. doi: 10.1021/ja801169j.

Trapping and characterization of a reaction intermediate in carbapenem hydrolysis by B. cereus metallo-beta-lactamase.

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Instituto de Biologia Molecular y Celular de Rosario and Biophysics Section, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas de Argentina, Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Rosario, Argentina.


Metallo-beta-lactamases hydrolyze most beta-lactam antibiotics. The lack of a successful inhibitor for them is related to the previous failure to characterize a reaction intermediate with a clinically useful substrate. Stopped-flow experiments together with rapid freeze-quench EPR and Raman spectroscopies were used to characterize the reaction of Co(II)-BcII with imipenem. These studies show that Co(II)-BcII is able to hydrolyze imipenem in both the mono- and dinuclear forms. In contrast to the situation met for penicillin, the species that accumulates during turnover is an enzyme-intermediate adduct in which the beta-lactam bond has already been cleaved. This intermediate is a metal-bound anionic species with a novel resonant structure that is stabilized by the metal ion at the DCH or Zn2 site. This species has been characterized based on its spectroscopic features. This represents a novel, previously unforeseen intermediate that is related to the chemical nature of carbapenems, as confirmed by the finding of a similar intermediate for meropenem. Since carbapenems are the only substrates cleaved by B1, B2, and B3 lactamases, identification of this intermediate could be exploited as a first step toward the design of transition-state-based inhibitors for all three classes of metallo-beta-lactamases.

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