Molecular Basis for the Potent Inhibition of the Emerging Carbapenemase VCC-1 by Avibactam

Chand S Mangat, Grishma Vadlamani, Viktor Holicek, Mitchell Chu, Veronica L C Larmour, David J Vocadlo, Michael R Mulvey, Brian L Mark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In 2016, we identified a new class A carbapenemase, VCC-1, in a nontoxigenic Vibrio cholerae strain that had been isolated from retail shrimp imported into Canada for human consumption. Shortly thereafter, seven additional VCC-1-producing V. cholerae isolates were recovered along the German coastline. These isolates appear to have acquired the VCC-1 gene (blaVCC-1) independently from the Canadian isolate, suggesting that blaVCC-1 is mobile and widely distributed. VCC-1 hydrolyzes penicillins, cephalothin, aztreonam, and carbapenems and, like the broadly disseminated class A carbapenemase KPC-2, is only weakly inhibited by clavulanic acid or tazobactam. Although VCC-1 has yet to be observed in the clinic, its encroachment into aquaculture and other areas with human activity suggests that the enzyme may be emerging as a public health threat. To preemptively address this threat, we examined the structural and functional biology of VCC-1 against the FDA-approved non-β-lactam-based inhibitor avibactam. We found that avibactam restored the in vitro sensitivity of V. cholerae to meropenem, imipenem, and ertapenem. The acylation efficiency was lower for VCC-1 than for KPC-2 and akin to that of Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 AmpC (k2/Ki  = 3.0 × 103 M-1 s-1). The tertiary structure of VCC-1 is similar to that of KPC-2, and they bind avibactam similarly; however, our analyses suggest that VCC-1 may be unable to degrade avibactam, as has been found for KPC-2. Based on our prior genomics-based surveillance, we were able to target VCC-1 for detailed molecular studies to gain early insights that could be used to combat this carbapenemase in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere02112-18
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes


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