Penicillin-binding proteins (PBPs), although characterized from several organisms, have so far not been studied in mycobacteria. The present study is the first characterization of a PBP from Mycobacterium smegmatis. The PBP was purified by solubilization of the membranes with Triton X-100 and successive chromatography of the solubilized proteins on ampicillin-linked CH Sepharose 4B and DE-52. The purified PBP (M(r), 49,500) catalyzed a model transpeptidase reaction with the tripeptide acetyl2-L-Lys-D-Ala-D-Ala as the substrate and Gly-Gly as the acceptor. The transpeptidase activity was inhibited by 50% at a benzylpenicillin concentration of 1.8 x 10(-7) M, which was similar to the concentration (1.1 x 10(-7) M) of benzylpenicillin required to saturate to 50% this PBP. Of several antibiotics tested, the concentration of antibiotic required to inhibit [35S]penicillin binding by 90% was found to be the lowest for cefoxitin and Sch 34343
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