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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Novel Mechanism of Resistance to Glycopeptide Antibiotics in Enterococcus faecium.

Glycopeptides and beta-lactams are the major antibiotics available for the treatment of infections due to Gram-positive bacteria. Emergence of cross-resistance to these drugs by a single mechanism has been considered as unlikely because they inhibit peptidoglycan polymerization by different mechanisms. The glycopeptides bind to the peptidyl-d-Ala(4)-d-Ala(5) extremity of peptidoglycan precursors and block by steric hindrance the essential glycosyltransferase and d,d-transpeptidase activities of the penicillin-binding proteins (PBPs). The beta-lactams are structural analogues of d-Ala(4)-d-Ala(5) and act as suicide substrates of the d,d-transpeptidase module of the PBPs. Here we have shown that bypass of the PBPs by the recently described beta-lactam-insensitive l,d-transpeptidase from Enterococcus faecium (Ldt(fm)) can lead to high level resistance to glycopeptides and beta-lactams. Cross-resistance was selected by glycopeptides alone or serially by beta-lactams and glycopeptides. In the corresponding mutants, UDP-MurNAc-pentapeptide was extensively converted to UDP-MurNAc-tetrapeptide following hydrolysis of d-Ala(5), thereby providing the substrate of Ldt(fm). Complete elimination of d-Ala(5), a residue essential for glycopeptide binding, was possible because Ldt(fm) uses the energy of the l-Lys(3)-d-Ala(4) peptide bond for cross-link formation in contrast to PBPs, which use the energy of the d-Ala(4)-d-Ala(5) bond. This novel mechanism of glycopeptide resistance was unrelated to the previously identified replacement of d-Ala(5) by d-Ser or d-lactate.[1]


  1. Novel Mechanism of Resistance to Glycopeptide Antibiotics in Enterococcus faecium. Cremniter, J., Mainardi, J.L., Josseaume, N., Quincampoix, J.C., Dubost, L., Hugonnet, J.E., Marie, A., Gutmann, L., Rice, L.B., Arthur, M. J. Biol. Chem. (2006) [Pubmed]
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