Professor Hua Guo from the department of chemistry and chemical biology at the University of New Mexico will be the featured speaker at a department of chemistry seminar. His talk is titled, "Do X-ray structures of enzymes tell us about catalytic mechanisms? - What we learned from studying bacterial enzymes conferring antibiotic resistance."
Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is a clear and present threat to public health, as illustrated by the recent discovery of the "superbug" NDM-1 that is resistant to almost all antibiotics. The antibiotic resistance is conferred by a class of bacterial enzymes called beta-lactamases. The development of effective inhibitors of such an enzyme requires knowledge of the catalytic mechanism, which is often derived from three-dimensional structures of the enzyme obtained from X-ray diffraction. But do these structures tell us the true story of how the catalysis is performed by the enzyme?