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

Cloning and characterization of the endogenous cephalosporinase gene, cepA, from Bacteroides fragilis reveals a new subgroup of Ambler class A beta-lactamases.

Bacteroides fragilis CS30 is a clinical isolate resistant to high concentrations of benzylpenicillin and cephaloridine but not to cephamycin or penem antibiotics. beta-Lactam resistance is mediated by a chromosomally encoded cephalosporinase produced at a high level. The gene encoding this beta-lactamase was cloned from genomic libraries constructed in Escherichia coli and then mated with B. fragilis 638 for identification of ampicillin-resistant (Apr) strains. Apr transconjugants contained a nitrocefin-reactive protein with the physical and enzymatic properties of the original CS30 isolate. The beta-lactamase gene (cepA) was localized by deletion analysis and subcloned, and its nucleotide sequence was determined. The 903-bp cepA open reading frame encoded a 300-amino-acid precursor protein (predicted molecular mass, 34,070 Da). A beta-lactamase-deficient mutant strain of B. fragilis 638 was constructed by insertional inactivation with the cepA gene of CS30, demonstrating strict functional homology between these chromosomal beta-lactamase genes. An extensive comparison of the CepA protein sequence by alignment with other beta-lactamases revealed the strict conservation of at least four elements common to Ambler class A. A further comparison of the CepA protein sequence with protein sequences of beta-lactamases from two other Bacteroides species indicated that they constitute their own distinct subgroup of class A beta-lactamases.[1]


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