The hydrolysis of β-lactam antibiotics by β-lactamase enzymes is the most prominent antibiotic resistance mechanism for many pathogenic bacteria. Out of this broad class of enzymes, metallo-β-lactamases are of special clinical interest because of their broad substrate specificities. Several in vitro inhibitors for various metallo-β-lactamases have been reported with no clinical efficacy. Previously, we described a 10-nucleotide single stranded DNA aptamer (10-mer) that inhibits Bacillus cereus 5/B/6 metallo-β-lactamase very effectively. Here, we find that the aptamer shows uncompetitive inhibition of Bacillus cereus 5/B/ 6 metallo-β-lactamase during cefuroxime hydrolysis. To understand the mechanism of inhibition, we report a 2.5 A resolution X-ray crystal structure and solution-state NMR analysis of the free enzyme. Chemical shift perturbations were observed in the HSQC spectra for several residues upon titrating with increasing concentrations of the 10-mer. In the X-ray crystal structure, these residues are distal to the active site, suggesting an allosteric mechanism for the aptamer inhibition of the enzyme. HADDOCK molecular docking simulations suggest that the 10-mer docks 26 A from the active site. We then mutated the three lysine residues in the basic binding patch to glutamine and measured the catalytic activity and inhibition by the 10-mer. No significant inhibition of these mutants was observed by the 10-mer as compared to wild type. Interestingly, mutation of Lys50 (Lys78; according to standard MBL numbering system) resulted in reduced enzymatic activity relative to wild type in the absence of inhibitor, further highlighting an allosteric mechanism for inhibition.
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© 2019 Khan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.