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Structure-function studies of β-lactamases

Abstract : Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has become a major threat to public health nowadays. The use and abuse of antibiotics is increasingly leading to selection and spread of resistance mechanisms worldwide, greatly compromising our capacity to treat infectious diseases. AMR might ultimately result in a future without effective antimicrobial therapy. Due to their safety and clinical efficacy, β-lactams are the most utilized antimicrobial therapy, and the most common resistance mechanism is the expression of β-lactamases. Therefore, the development of new antimicrobial drugs, for novel or already known targets, is of utmost importance. In particular, the development of novel inhibitors towards β-lactamases is also quite promising, as it would allow us to continue using the effective and safe antimicrobial drugs already available today. The biochemical and structural study of novel β-lactamases or synthetic mutants, through X-ray crystallography and various molecular modelling techniques (homology modelling, docking, molecular dynamics, water network analysis), can provide valuable information. In this context, we have characterized phenotypically, biochemically and structurally several β-lactamases.The CMY-136 β-lactamase possesses an unusual mutation, Y221H, as compared to CMY-2, in a position highly conserved among class C ß-lactamases. Crystallographic and molecular modelling experiments reveal a steric impediment around the mutated position 221 that may affect the conformation and dynamics of the Ω-loop, and therefore account for an increased turnover rate for bulky substrates and a decreased affinity for most substrates as compared to CMY-2.The crystal structure of the OXA-427, a novel class D carbapenemase, shows the Lys73 only partially carbamoylated, a very unusual characteristic for this class of β-lactamases, and an unexpected hydrophobic bridge in the vicinity of the active site. Moreover, molecular dynamics simulations revealed an extended and highly flexible β5-β6 loop. Altogether, these features may explain the unique hydrolytic profile determined experimentally for this enzyme.Modifications in the β5-β6 loop of the OXA-48 β-lactamase (alanine scanning, systematic deletions, replacement with the β5-β6 loop from OXA-18) result in profound changes in the hydrolytic profile, with gradual acquisition of cephalosporinase activity and decrease of carbapenemase activity in some cases. X-ray crystallography and molecular modelling studies suggest that the altered conformation and flexibility of this loop and of adjacent regions in these mutants may allow for the better accommodation of the bulkier cephalosporins, compared to OXA-48. Additionally, water dynamics analysis highlighted changes in the water network around and inside the active site cavity that may be responsible for the lower activity towards carbapenems. Together with studies on other naturally occurring mutants, results corroborate the relevance of the β5-β6 loop on the substrate profile of OXA-type enzymes. Crystal structure of the OXA-48 217ΔP mutant reveals an unexpected self-inhibited conformation induced by the presence of a nitrate ion, a previously unknown inhibitor of class D β-lactamases.Finally, the Beta-Lactamase DataBase (BLDB, http://bldb.eu) developed in our laboratory is a comprehensive, manually curated public resource providing up-to-date structural and functional information on β-lactamases. It contains all reported naturally-occurring β-lactamases and synthetic mutants, together with all available 3D structures from the PDB and the phenotypical characterization.Overall, these results constitute an essential foundation for a better understanding of the structure-function relationship of β-lactamases, which may prove crucial for the future rational development of β-lactamase inhibitors.
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Agustin Zavala. Structure-function studies of β-lactamases. Molecular biology. Université Paris Saclay (COmUE), 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018SACLS567⟩. ⟨tel-02895645⟩

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