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Biochem Pharmacol. 1993 Aug 3;46(3):542-6.

Interaction of the orally active dianionic cephalosporin cefixime with the uptake system for oligopeptides and alpha-amino-beta-lactam antibiotics in rabbit small intestine.

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Hoechst Aktiengesellschaft, Frankfurt am Main, F.R.G.


The uptake of two orally active beta-lactam antibiotics of different chemical structure, the zwitterionic alpha-aminocephalosporin cephalexin and the dianionic carboxymethoxyimino-cephalosporin cefixime, by brush border membrane vesicles obtained from rabbit small intestine and their molecular interaction with the H+/oligopeptide transport system were investigated. The uptake of both compounds was stimulated by an inwardly directed H(+)-gradient with a profound pH-maximum for cephalexin at pH 6outside and pH 7.4inside whereas cefixime uptake was maximal below pH 5outside. Modification of histidyl residues of membrane proteins led to a complete loss of pH dependence of transport of both cephalosporins. The uptake of cephalexin was competitively inhibited by cefixime and dipeptides and vice versa that of cefixime by cephalexin and dipeptides. The uptake of cefixime was trans-stimulated by cephalexin and glycyl-L-proline whereas cephalexin uptake could only be trans-stimulated by glycyl-L-proline, not by cefixime. Photoaffinity labeling with [3H]benzylpenicillin as a direct photoaffinity probe of the H+/oligopeptide transport system demonstrated a direct molecular interaction of both cephalexin and cefixime with this transporter in the pH range of 5-8. Thermal pretreatment of membrane vesicles inhibited the cephalexin transport system temperature-dependently, whereas cefixime uptake was not inhibited, but stimulated. Taken together we conclude that dianionic cephalosporins like cefixime bind to the transport system shared by oligopeptides and alpha-amino-beta-lactam antibiotics. Their transport across the enterocyte brush border membrane, however, may occur to a significant extent by a different transport system.

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