Ligand promiscuity through the eyes of the aminoglycosideN3 acetyltransferase IIa

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Aminoglycoside-modifying enzymes (AGMEs) are expressed in many pathogenic bacteria and cause resistance to aminoglycoside (AG) antibiotics. Remarkably, the substrate promiscuity of AGMEs is quite variable. The molecular basis for such ligand promiscuity is largely unknown as there is not an obvious link between amino acid sequence or structure and the antibiotic profiles of AGMEs. To address this issue, this article presents the first kinetic and thermodynamic characterization of one of the least promiscuous AGMEs, the AGN3 acetyltransferase-IIa (AAC-IIa) and its comparison to two highly promiscuous AGMEs, the AGN3-acetyltransferase-IIIb (AAC-IIIb) and the AG phosphotransferase(3′)-IIIa (APH). Despite having similar antibiotic selectivities, AAC-IIIb and APH catalyze different reactions and share no homology to one another. AAC-IIa and AAC-IIIb catalyze the same reaction and are very similar in both amino acid sequence and structure. However, they demonstrate strong differences in their substrate profiles and kinetic and thermodynamic properties. AAC-IIa and APH are also polar opposites in terms of ligand promiscuity but share no sequence or apparent structural homology. However, they both are highly dynamic and may even contain disordered segments and both adopt well-defined conformations when AGs are bound. Contrary to this AAC-IIIb maintains a well-defined structure even in apo form. Data presented herein suggest that the antibiotic promiscuity of AGMEs may be determined neither by the flexibility of the protein nor the size of the active site cavity alone but strongly modulated or controlled by the effects of the cosubstrate on the dynamic and thermodynamic properties of the enzyme.

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