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Protein Sci. 2010 Sep;19(9):1714-27. doi: 10.1002/pro.454.

Elucidating the role of Trp105 in the KPC-2 β-lactamase.

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Department of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, USA.


The molecular basis of resistance to β-lactams and β-lactam-β-lactamase inhibitor combinations in the KPC family of class A enzymes is of extreme importance to the future design of effective β-lactam therapy. Recent crystal structures of KPC-2 and other class A β-lactamases suggest that Ambler position Trp105 may be of importance in binding β-lactam compounds. Based on this notion, we explored the role of residue Trp105 in KPC-2 by conducting site-saturation mutagenesis at this position. Escherichia coli DH10B cells expressing the Trp105Phe, -Tyr, -Asn, and -His KPC-2 variants possessed minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) similar to E. coli cells expressing wild type (WT) KPC-2. Interestingly, most of the variants showed increased MICs to ampicillin-clavulanic acid but not to ampicillin-sulbactam or piperacillin-tazobactam. To explain the biochemical basis of this behavior, four variants (Trp105Phe, -Asn, -Leu, and -Val) were studied in detail. Consistent with the MIC data, the Trp105Phe β-lactamase displayed improved catalytic efficiencies, k(cat)/K(m), toward piperacillin, cephalothin, and nitrocefin, but slightly decreased k(cat)/K(m) toward cefotaxime and imipenem when compared to WT β-lactamase. The Trp105Asn variant exhibited increased K(m)s for all substrates. In contrast, the Trp105Leu and -Val substituted enzymes demonstrated notably decreased catalytic efficiencies (k(cat)/K(m)) for all substrates. With respect to clavulanic acid, the K(i)s and partition ratios were increased for the Trp105Phe, -Asn, and -Val variants. We conclude that interactions between Trp105 of KPC-2 and the β-lactam are essential for hydrolysis of substrates. Taken together, kinetic and molecular modeling studies define the role of Trp105 in β-lactam and β-lactamase inhibitor discrimination.

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