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J Biol Chem. 1993 Feb 15;268(5):3690-7.

Role of Ser-238 and Lys-240 in the hydrolysis of third-generation cephalosporins by SHV-type beta-lactamases probed by site-directed mutagenesis and three-dimensional modeling.

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  • 1Département de Microbiologie, Faculté de Médecine, Université Laval, Ste-Foy, Québec, Canada.


A growing number of extended spectrum SHV-type beta-lactamases capable of hydrolyzing third-generation cephalosporins such as cefotaxime and ceftazidime have been reported. These new enzymes differ by a few amino acids from SHV-1, an enzyme incapable of hydrolyzing these drugs. Two of these substitutions, Gly-238-->Ser and Glu-240-->Lys, are in a key beta-strand of the catalytic site of class A beta-lactamases. To understand the structural basis of these new activities, we first subcloned the DNA region coding for SHV-1 and SHV-2 and did site-directed mutagenesis to create two mutant SHV-1 proteins containing Ser and Glu or Gly and Lys and two mutant SHV-2 proteins containing Gly and Glu or Ser and Lys in positions 238 and 240, respectively. Phenotypic analysis (antibiograms and minimum inhibitory concentrations) and activity spectra of mutant enzymes showed that Ser-238 is critical for cefotaxime hydrolysis whereas both Ser-238 and Lys-240 are needed for strong ceftazidime hydrolysis. A three-dimensional model for SHV beta-lactamase complexes was constructed using the crystallographic structure of the homologous Bacillus licheniformis beta-lactamase, the complex of cefotaxime with the Streptomyces sp. R61 D-alanyl-D-alanine peptidase, and the complex of aztreonam with the Citrobacter freundii beta-lactamase. The modeling of SHV beta-lactamase complexes showed that factors which are most likely to correlate with binding and kinetic data are the size of the relatively buried amino acid at position 238 and the electrostatic charge of the exposed group at position 240.

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