The aim of the study was the biochemical characterization of a new variant of the metallo-beta-lactamase, IMP-22. Moreover, the genetic environment of the bla(IMP-22) gene was investigated in Pseudomonas fluorescens and Pseudomonas aeruginosa collected from urban wastewater and a teaching hospital in L'Aquila, Italy.
Molecular characterization of genetic elements was carried out by PCR and DNA sequencing methods. The new enzyme was purified from recombinant Escherichia coli BL21(DE)Rosetta/pBC-SK/IMP-22. Steady-state kinetic parameters (K(m) and V(max)) were determined for a large pattern of substrates.
A new IMP metallo-beta-lactamase gene was found in a class 1 integron and in one case, in a plasmid of Pseudomonas spp. The bla(IMP-22) encodes for a pre-protein of 246 amino acids and the N-terminus of the mature beta-lactamase (NH(2)-PDLK) was also determined. The molecular mass and pI were 24 930 Da and 6.2, respectively. On the basis of the kinetic parameters calculated (K(m) and V(max)), IMP-22 was found to hydrolyse narrow- and extended-spectrum beta-lactams. Enzyme activity was found to be inhibited by metal chelators such as EDTA, 1,10-o-phenathroline and dipicolinic acid with an IC(50) of 800, 750 and 300 microM, respectively.
The finding of the bla(IMP-22) gene in P. fluorescens environmental strains and P. aeruginosa clinical isolate suggests the ongoing spread of bla(MBL) genes in several bacterial species and in different environments.
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