Structural and functional characterization of oxa-48: Insight into mechanism and structural basis of substrate recognition and specificity

Jiachi Chiou, Qipeng Cheng, Perry Tim Fat Shum, Marcus Ho Yin Wong, Edward Wai Chi Chan, Sheng Chen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Class D β-lactamase OXA-48 is widely distributed among Gram-negative bacteria and is an important determinant of resistance to the last-resort carbapenems. Nevertheless, the detailed mechanism by which this β-lactamase hydrolyzes its substrates remains poorly understood. In this study, the complex structures of OXA-48 and various β-lactams were modeled and the potential active site residues that may interact with various β-lactams were identified and characterized to elucidate their roles in OXA-48 substrate recognition. Four residues, namely S70, K73, S118, and K208 were found to be essential for OXA-48 to undergo catalytic hydrolysis of various penicillins and carbapenems both in vivo and in vitro. T209 was found to be important for hydrolysis of imipenem, whereas R250 played a major role in hydrolyzing ampicillin, imipenem, and meropenem most likely by forming a H-bond or salt-bridge between the side chain of these two residues and the carboxylate oxygen ions of the substrates. Analysis of the effect of substitution of alanine in two residues, W105 and L158, revealed their roles in mediating the activity of OXA-48. Our data show that these residues most likely undergo hydrophobic interaction with the R groups and the core structure of the β-lactam ring in penicillins and the carbapenems, respectively. Unlike OXA-58, mass spectrometry suggested a loss of the C6-hydroxyethyl group during hydrolysis of meropenem by OXA-48, which has never been demonstrated in Class D carbapenemases. Findings in this study provide comprehensive knowledge of the mechanism of the substrate recognition and catalysis of OXA-type β-lactamases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11480
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


  • Active site residues
  • Carbapenemase
  • Interaction
  • OXA-48
  • β-lactams

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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