Inhibition of a class C beta-lactamase by a specific phosphonate monoester

Science  17 Nov 1989:
Vol. 246, Issue 4932, pp. 917-919
DOI: 10.1126/science.2814513


A phosphonate monoester, m-carboxyphenyl phenylacetamidomethylphosphonate, has been found to be a specific inhibitor of the class C beta-lactamase of Enterobacter cloacae P99. Inactivation is rapid (10(3) per second per molar concentration) and reactivation very slow (2.2 X 10(-6) per second). Apparently concerted with the inactivation, one equivalent (with respect to the enzyme) of m-hydroxybenzoate is released. Reactivation is accelerated by hydroxylamine and benzohydroxamate. This suggests that the loss of enzyme activity is due to phosphonylation of an active site functional group. This discovery holds the promise of a new general class of beta-lactamase inhibitors and, perhaps, antibiotics.