The exocellular DD-carboxypeptidase-transpeptidase of Streptomyces R39 is inhibited by beta-lactam antibiotics according to the same general scheme of reaction as the exocellular DD-carboxypeptidase-transpeptidase of Streptomyces R61. However, the values for the kinetic constants involved in the reaction are very different for the two enzymes and provide an explanation for the observation that the R39 enzyme is more sensitive to beta-lactam antibiotics than the R61 enzyme. Further, particular beta-lactams influence the kinetic constants to different extents depending on the source of the enzyme, so that a physical basis for the spectrum of antibiotic activity against particular enzyme systems is provided.

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