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See detailMethod for estimation of low outer membrane permeability to beta-lactam antibiotics
Lakaye, Bernard ULg; Dubus, Alice ULg; Joris, Bernard ULg et al

in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (2002), 46(9), 2901-2907

The outer membrane of gram-negative bacteria plays a major role in beta-lactam resistance as it slows down antibiotic entry into the periplasm and therefore acts in synergy with beta-lactamases and efflux ... [more ▼]

The outer membrane of gram-negative bacteria plays a major role in beta-lactam resistance as it slows down antibiotic entry into the periplasm and therefore acts in synergy with beta-lactamases and efflux systems. Up to now, the quantitative estimation of low outer membrane permeability by the method of Zimmermann and Rosselet was difficult because of the secreted and cell surface-associated beta-lactamases. The method presented here uses the acylation of a highly sensitive periplasmic penicillin-binding protein (PBP) (BlaR-CTD) to assess the rate of beta-lactam penetration into the periplasm. The method is dedicated to measurement of low permeability and is only valid when the diffusion rate through the outer membrane is rate limiting. Cytoplasmic membrane associated PBPs do not interfere since they are acylated after the very sensitive BlaR-CTD. This method was used to measure the permeability of beta-lactamase-deficient strains of Enterobacter cloacae and Enterobacter aerogenes to benzylpenicillin, ampicillin, carbenicillin, cefotaxime, aztreonam, and cephacetrile. Except for that of cephacetrile, the permeability coefficients were equal to or below 10(-7) cm/s. For cephacetrile, carbenicillin, and benzylpenicillin, the outer membrane of E. cloacae was 20 to 60 times less permeable than that of Escherichia coli, whereas for cefotaxime, aztreonam, and ampicillin it was, respectively, 400, 1,000, and 700 times less permeable. The permeability coefficient for aztreonam is the lowest ever measured (P = 3.2 X 10(-9) cm/s). Using these values, the MICs for a beta-lactamase-overproducing strain of E. cloacae were successfully predicted, demonstrating the validity of the method. [less ▲]

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See detailWhen Drug Inactivation Renders the Target Irrelevant to Antibiotic Resistance: A Case Story with Beta-Lactams
Lakaye, Bernard ULg; Dubus, Alice ULg; Lepage, Sylvie ULg et al

in Molecular Microbiology (1999), 31(1), 89-101

By challenging the efficiency of some of our most useful antimicrobial weapons, bacterial antibiotic resistance is becoming an increasingly worrying clinical problem. A good antibiotic is expected to ... [more ▼]

By challenging the efficiency of some of our most useful antimicrobial weapons, bacterial antibiotic resistance is becoming an increasingly worrying clinical problem. A good antibiotic is expected to exhibit a high affinity for its target and to reach it rapidly, while escaping chemical modification by inactivating enzymes and elimination by efflux mechanisms. A study of the behaviour of a beta-lactamase-overproducing mutant of Enterobacter cloacae in the presence of several penicillins and cephalosporins showed that the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values for several compounds were practically independent of the sensitivity of the target penicillin binding protein (PBP), even for poor beta-lactamase substrates. This apparent paradox was explained by analysing the equation that relates the antibiotic concentration in the periplasm to that in the external medium. Indeed, under conditions that are encountered frequently in clinical isolates, the factor characterizing the PBP sensitivity became negligible. The conclusions can be extended to all antibiotics that are sensitive to enzymatic inactivation and efflux mechanisms and must overcome permeability barriers. It would be a grave mistake to neglect these considerations in the design of future antibacterial chemotherapeutic agents. [less ▲]

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See detailTEM1 beta-lactamase structure solved by molecular replacement and refined structure of the S235A mutant.
Fonze, E.; Charlier, Paulette ULg; To'th, Y. et al

in Acta Crystallographica Section D-Biological Crystallography (1995), 51(Pt 5), 682-94

beta-Lactamases are bacterial enzymes which catalyse the hydrolysis of the beta-lactam ring of penicillins, cephalosporins and related compounds, thus inactivating these antibiotics. The crystal structure ... [more ▼]

beta-Lactamases are bacterial enzymes which catalyse the hydrolysis of the beta-lactam ring of penicillins, cephalosporins and related compounds, thus inactivating these antibiotics. The crystal structure of the TEM1 beta-lactamase has been determined at 1.9 A resolution by the molecular-replacement method, using the atomic coordinates of two homologous beta-lactamase refined structures which show about 36% strict identity in their amino-acid sequences and 1.96 A r.m.s. deviation between equivalent Calpha atoms. The TEM1 enzyme crystallizes in space group P2(1)2(1)2(1) and there is one molecule per asymmetric unit. The structure was refined by simulated annealing to an R-factor of 15.6% for 15 086 reflections with I >/= 2sigma(I) in the resolution range 5.0-1.9 A. The final crystallographic structure contains 263 amino-acid residues, one sulfate anion in the catalytic cleft and 135 water molecules per asymmetric unit. The folding is very similar to that of the other known class A beta-lactamases. It consists of two domains, the first is formed by a five-stranded beta-sheet covered by three alpha-helices on one face and one alpha-helix on the other, the second domain contains mainly alpha-helices. The catalytic cleft is located at the interface between the two domains. We also report the crystallographic study of the TEM S235A mutant. This mutation of an active-site residue specifically decreases the acylation rate of cephalosporins. This TEM S235A mutant crystallizes under the same conditions as the wild-type protein and its structure was refined at 2.0 A resolution with an R value of 17.6%. The major modification is the appearance of a water molecule near the mutated residue, which is incompatible with the OG 235 present in the wild-type enzyme, and causes very small perturbations in the interaction network in the active site. [less ▲]

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See detailThiolester substrates of DD-peptidases and beta-lactamases
Damblon, Christian ULg; Ledent, P.; Zhao, G. H. et al

in Letters In Peptide Science (1995), 2(3-4), 212-216

With peptide substrates, the penicillin-sensitive DD-peptidases exhibit a strict specificity for D-Ala-D-Xaa C-termini. Only glycine is tolerated as the C-terminal residue, but with a significantly ... [more ▼]

With peptide substrates, the penicillin-sensitive DD-peptidases exhibit a strict specificity for D-Ala-D-Xaa C-termini. Only glycine is tolerated as the C-terminal residue, but with a significantly decreased activity. These enzymes also hydrolyse various ester and thiolester analogues of their natural substrates. Some of the thiolesters whose C-terminal leaving group exhibited an L stereochemistry were significantly hydrolysed by some of the studied enzymes, particularly by the Actinomadura R39 DD-peptidase. By contrast, the strict specificity for a D residue in the penultimate position was fully retained. The same esters and thiolesters also behaved as substrates for beta-lactamases. In this case, thiolesters exhibiting L stereochemistry in the C-terminal position could also be hydrolysed, mainly by the class C and class D enzymes. But, more surprisingly, the class C Enterobacter cloacae P99 beta-lactamase also hydrolysed thiolesters containing an L residue in the penultimate position, sometimes more efficiently than the D isomer. [less ▲]

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See detailBreakdown of the stereospecificity of DD-peptidases and beta-lactamases with thiolester substrates.
Damblon, Christian ULg; Zhao, G. H.; Jamin, M. et al

in Biochemical Journal (1995), 309 ( Pt 2)

With peptide analogues of their natural substrates (the glycopeptide units of nascent peptidoglycan), the DD-peptidases exhibit a strict preference for D-Ala-D-Xaa C-termini. Gly is tolerated as the C ... [more ▼]

With peptide analogues of their natural substrates (the glycopeptide units of nascent peptidoglycan), the DD-peptidases exhibit a strict preference for D-Ala-D-Xaa C-termini. Gly is tolerated as the C-terminal residue, but with a significantly decreased activity. These enzymes were also known to hydrolyse various ester and thiolester analogues of their natural substrates. Some thiolesters with a C-terminal leaving group that exhibited L stereochemistry were significantly hydrolysed by some of the enzymes, particularly the Actinomadura R39 DD-peptidase, but the strict specificity for a D residue in the penultimate position was fully retained. These esters and thiolesters also behave as substrates for beta-lactamases. In this case, thiolesters exhibiting L stereochemistry in the ultimate position could also be hydrolysed, mainly by the class-C and class-D enzymes. However, more surprisingly, the class-C Enterobacter cloacae P99 beta-lactamase also hydrolysed thiolesters containing an L residue in the penultimate position, sometimes with a higher efficiency than the D isomer. [less ▲]

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See detailThe mechanism of action of DD-peptidases: the role of Threonine-299 and -301 in the Streptomyces R61 DD-peptidase.
Wilkin, J M; Dubus, Alice ULg; Joris, Bernard ULg et al

in Biochemical Journal (1994), 301 ( Pt 2)

The side chains of residues Thr299 and Thr301 in the Streptomyces R61 DD-peptidase have been modified by site-directed mutagenesis. These amino acids are part of a beta-strand which forms a wall of the ... [more ▼]

The side chains of residues Thr299 and Thr301 in the Streptomyces R61 DD-peptidase have been modified by site-directed mutagenesis. These amino acids are part of a beta-strand which forms a wall of the active-site cavity. Thr299 corresponds to the second residue of the Lys-Thr(Ser)-Gly triad, highly conserved in active-site beta-lactamases and penicillin-binding proteins (PBPs). Modification of Thr301 resulted only in minor alterations of the catalytic and penicillin-binding properties of the enzyme. No selective decrease of the rate of acylation was observed for any particular class of compounds. By contrast, the loss of the hydroxy group of the residue in position 299 yielded a seriously impaired enzyme. The rates of inactivation by penicillins were decreased 30-50-fold, whereas the reactions with cephalosporins were even more affected. The efficiency of hydrolysis against the peptide substrate was also seriously decreased. More surprisingly, the mutant was completely unable to catalyse transpeptidation reactions. The conservation of an hydroxylated residue in this position in PBPs is thus easily explained by these results. [less ▲]

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