Aromatic boronic acids are reversible inhibitors of the recently classified class C beta-lactamases. The boronic acids studied include ortho-, meta- and para-methyl-, -hydroxymethyl- and -formyl-phenylboronic acid. The beta-lactamases were chromosomally-encoded enzymes, one from Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and the other specified by the ampC gene of Escherichia coli. The inhibition may be correlated with our finding that these beta-lactamases are serine enzymes, i.e. their function entails the hydroxy group of a serine residue acting as a nucleophile.

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