Crystal structures of KPC-2 β-lactamase in complex with 3-nitrophenyl boronic acid and the penam sulfone PSR-3-226

Wei Ke, Christopher R. Bethel, Krisztina M. Papp-Wallace, Sundar Ram Reddy Pagadala, Micheal Nottingham, Daniel Fernandez, John D. Buynak, Robert A. Bonomo, Focco Van Den Akker

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40 Scopus citations


Class A carbapenemases are a major threat to the potency of carbapenem antibiotics. A widespread carbapenemase, KPC-2, is not easily inhibited by β-lactamase inhibitors (i.e., clavulanic acid, sulbactam, and tazobactam). To explore different mechanisms of inhibition of KPC-2, we determined the crystal structures of KPC-2 with two β-lactamase inhibitors that follow different inactivation pathways and kinetics. The first complex is that of a small boronic acid compound, 3-nitrophenyl boronic acid (3-NPBA), bound to KPC-2 with 1.62-Å resolution. 3-NPBA demonstrated a K m value of 1.0±0.1 μM (mean±standard error) for KPC-2 and blocks the active site by making a reversible covalent interaction with the catalytic S70 residue. The two boron hydroxyl atoms of 3-NPBA are positioned in the oxyanion hole and the deacylation water pocket, respectively. In addition, the aromatic ring of 3-NPBA provides an edge-to-face interaction with W105 in the active site. The structure of KPC-2 with the penam sulfone PSR-3-226 was determined at 1.26-Å resolution. PSR-3-226 displayed a K m value of 3.8±0.4 μM for KPC-2, and the inactivation rate constant (k inact) was 0.034±0.003 s -1. When covalently bound to S70, PSR-3-226 forms a trans-enamine intermediate in the KPC-2 active site. The predominant active site interactions are generated via the carbonyl oxygen, which resides in the oxyanion hole, and the carboxyl moiety of PSR-3-226, which interacts with N132, N170, and E166. 3-NPBA and PSR-3-226 are the first β-lactamase inhibitors to be trapped as an acyl-enzyme complex with KPC-2. The structural and inhibitory insights gained here could aid in the design of potent KPC-2 inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2713-2718
Number of pages6
JournalAntimicrobial agents and chemotherapy
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2012


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