A sensitive coupled HPLC/electrospray mass spectrometry assay for SPM-1 metallo-β-lactamase inhibitors

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Antibiotic-resistant bacteria continue to threaten human health through multiple mechanisms, including hydrolytic inactivation of β-lactam antibiotics by metallo-β-lactamases (MBLs). The SPM-1 enzyme, originally identified from a Pseudomonas aeruginosa clinical isolate, is a Class B β-lactamase responsible for resistance in bacteria against antibiotics such as penicillins, cephalosporins, and carbapenems. Unlike Class A, C, and D β-lactamases, which employ a serine residue in their active site, Class B enzymes possess one or two Zn atoms in the active site that play both a structural and catalytic role. A β-lactamase inhibitor with co-administration of a β-lactam antibiotic has proven to be an effective treatment against antibiotic-resistant bacteria whose resistance is due to serine-based β-lactamases (e.g., amoxicillin/clavulanic acid). A similar clinical approach has not yet been developed for resistant bacteria possessing MBLs. The identification and development of specific and effective MBL inhibitors to combat this resistance could extend the utility of currently prescribed antibiotics such as cephalosporins and carbapenems. To discover MBL inhibitors, compound libraries are screened typically by enzymatic hydrolysis of a chromogenic substrate such as nitrocefin monitored by absorbance. Spectrophotometric assays, while valuable, lack the sensitivity and selectivity to screen natural product extract libraries because of the strongly absorbing nature of some extracts and the dilute concentrations of active components. An assay is described herein that monitors the SPM-1-catalyzed hydrolysis of penicillin G by high-performance (high-pressure) liquid chromatography- electrospray mass spectroscopy, which permits investigations with greater sensitivity and selectivity allowing the screening of natural product extracts for inhibitors of MBLs.© 2009 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

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Assay and Drug Development Technologies

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