Cell-free supernatants from cells of Streptomyces clavuligerus (N.R.R.L. 3585), which are actively synthesizing cephamycin C, transfer a carbamoyl group from carbamoylphosphate to a 3-hydroxymethylceph-3-em-4-carboxylic acid nucleus to form a 3-carbamoyloxymethylcephem. This reaction was stimulated by nucleoside triphosphates and by a mixture of Mn2+ and Mg2+ cations. The enzyme responsible was purified 40-fold by batch absorption onto DEAE-cellulose and hydroxyapatite. The purified O-carbamoyltransferase is most active at pH 6.8. It is stabilized by phosphate anions, but is inhibited by PPi anions, (NH4)2SO4 or NaCl. The enzyme is stimulated by ATP, but it is not known whether this nucleotide acts as an effector or as a substrate. Some activity is observed with dATP, but two other analogues of ATP, in which a methylene group replaced the oxygen atom between the alpha- and beta- or the beta- and gamma-phosphorus atoms, inhibit the action of ATP itself. The enzyme synthesizes a wide range of 3-carbamoyloxymethylcephems. The structure of some of these products, for example that of cefuroxime (3-carbamoyloxymethyl-7 beta-[2-(fur-2-yl)-2-syn-methoxyiminoacetamido]ceph-3-em-4-carboxylic acid), was confirmed by their proton-n.m.r. spectra.

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