The penicillin-resistant Enterococcus hirae R40 has a typical profile of membrane-bound penicillin-binding proteins (PBPs) except that the 71 kDa PBP5 of low penicillin affinity represents about 50% of all the PBPs present. Water-soluble tryptic-digest peptides were selectively produced from PBP5, their N-terminal regions were sequenced and synthetic oligonucleotides were used as primers to generate a 476 bp DNA fragment by polymerase chain reaction. On the basis of these data, the PBP5-encoding gene was cloned in Escherichia coli by using pBR322 as vector. The gene, included in a 7.1 kb insert, had the information for a 678-amino acid-residue protein. PBP5 shows similarity, in the primary structure, with the high-molecular-mass PBPs of class B. In particular, amino acid alignment of the enterococcal PBP5 and the methicillin-resistant staphylococcal PBP2′ generates scores that are 30, for the N-terminal domains, and 53, for the C-terminal domains, standard deviations above that expected for a run of 20 randomized pairs of proteins having the same amino acid compositions as the two proteins under consideration.

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