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Protein Eng Des Sel. 2011 Oct;24(10):801-9. doi: 10.1093/protein/gzr041. Epub 2011 Aug 22.

The Class D beta-lactamase family: residues governing the maintenance and diversity of function.

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Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Grand Valley State University, Henry Hall, 1 Campus Drive, Allendale, MI 49401, USA.


Class D β-lactamases, a major source of bacterial resistance to β-lactam antibiotic therapies, represent a distinct subset of the β-lactamase superfamily. They share a serine hydrolase mechanism with Classes A/C vs. Class B. Further understanding of their sequence-structure-function relationships would benefit efforts to design a new generation of antibiotics as well as to predict evolutionary mechanisms in response to such therapies. Here we describe analyses based on our high-resolution multiple sequence alignment and phylogenetic tree of ∼80 Class D β-lactamases that leverage several 3D structures of these enzymes. We observe several sequence clusters on the phylogenetic tree, some that are species specific while others include several species from α-, β- and γ-proteobacteria. Residues characteristic of a specific cluster were identified and shown to be located just outside the active site, possibly modulating the function of the catalytic residues to facilitate reactions with specific types of β-lactams. Most significant was the discovery of a likely disulfide bond in a large group composed of α-, β- and γ-proteobacteria that would contribute to enzyme stability and hence bacterial viability under antibiotic assault. A network of co-evolving residues was identified which suggested the importance of maintaining a surface for binding a highly conserved Phe69.

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