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Bacterial metallo-β-lactamases (MBLs) are involved in resistance to β-lactam antibiotics including cephalosporins. Human SNM1A and SNM1B are MBL superfamily exonucleases that play a key role in the repair of DNA interstrand cross-links, which are induced by antitumour chemotherapeutics, and are therefore targets for cancer chemosensitization. We report that cephalosporins are competitive inhibitors of SNM1A and SNM1B exonuclease activity; both the intact β-lactam and their hydrolysed products are active. This discovery provides a lead for the development of potent and selective SNM1A and SNM1B inhibitors.


Journal article


Chemical communications (Cambridge, England)

Publication Date





6727 - 6730


Department of Oncology, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford OX3 9DS, UK. and Department of Chemistry, University of Oxford, 12 Mansfield Road, Oxford OX1 3TA, UK.