The production and purification of a tetrameric zinc beta-lactamase from Pseudomonas maltophilia IID 1275 were greatly improved. Three charge variants were isolated by chromatofocusing. The subunits each contain two atomic proportions of zinc and (in two of the variants) one residue of cysteine. The thiol group is not required for activity, nor does it appear to bind to the metal. Replacement of zinc by cobalt, cadmium or nickel takes place at a measurable rate, and gives enzymes that are less active than the zinc enzyme. The properties of this enzyme differ from those of the other known zinc beta-lactamase, beta-lactamase II from Bacillus cereus. The amino acid sequence of the N-terminal 32 residues was determined; there is no similarity to the N-terminal sequences of other beta-lactamases.

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