Vancomycin forms complexes with peptides terminating in d-alanyl-d-alanine that are analogous to the biosynthetic precursors of bacterial mucopeptides. The specificity of complex-formation has been studied by means of many synthetic peptides, prepared by both solid-phase and conventional methods. The following conclusions can be drawn: (a) three amide linkages are required to form a stable complex; (b) the terminal carboxyl group must be free; (c) the carboxyl terminal and subterminal residues must be either glycine or of the d-configuration; (d) the size of the side chain in these residues greatly influences the affinity for vancomycin, a methyl group being the optimum in each case; (e) the nature of the side chain in the third and fourth residues has a smaller effect on complex-formation, but an l-configuration was somewhat better than a d-configuration in the third position. In addition to acyl-d-alanyl-d-alanine, other peptides that occur in bacterial cell walls will combine with vancomycin, although less strongly, e.g. acyl-d-alanyl-d-α-amino acid (where the terminal d-residue may form the cross-link in mucopeptide structure) and acyl-l-alanyl-d-glutamylglycine (a sequence found in the mucopeptide of Micrococcus lysodeikticus and related organisms). These results throw some light on the specificity of the uptake of vancomycin by living bacteria.
Research Article|August 01 1971
Modifications of the acyl-d-alanyl-d-alanine terminus affecting complex-formation with vancomycin
Biochem J (1971) 123 (5): 789-803.
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M. Nieto, H. R. Perkins; Modifications of the acyl-d-alanyl-d-alanine terminus affecting complex-formation with vancomycin. Biochem J 1 August 1971; 123 (5): 789–803. doi: https://doi.org/10.1042/bj1230789
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