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Science. 1986 Mar 21;231(4744):1429-31.

On the origin of bacterial resistance to penicillin: comparison of a beta-lactamase and a penicillin target.


Structural data are now available for comparing a penicillin target enzyme, the D-alanyl-D-alanine-peptidase from Streptomyces R61, with a penicillin-hydrolyzing enzyme, the beta-lactamase from Bacillus licheniformis 749/C. Although the two enzymes have distinct catalytic properties and lack relatedness in their overall amino acid sequences except near the active-site serine, the significant similarity found by x-ray crystallography in the spatial arrangement of the elements of secondary structure provides strong support for earlier hypotheses that beta-lactamases arose from penicillin-sensitive D-alanyl-D-alanine-peptidases involved in bacterial wall peptidoglycan metabolism.

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