Aminoglycoside phosphotransferase(3′)-IIIa (APH) is the enzyme with broadest substrate range among the phosphotransferases that cause resistance to aminoglycoside antibiotics. In this study, the thermodynamic characterization of interactions of APH with its ligands are done by determining dissociation constants of enzyme–substrate complexes using electron paramagnetic resonance and fluorescence spectroscopy. Metal binding studies showed that three divalent cations bind to the apo-enzyme with low affinity. In the presence of AMPPCP, binding of the divalent cations occurs with 7-to-37-fold higher affinity to three additional sites dependent on the presence and absence of different aminoglycosides. Surprisingly, when both ligands, AMPPCP and aminoglycoside, are present, the number of high affinity metal binding sites is reduced to two with a 2-fold increase in binding affinity. The presence of divalent cations, with or without aminoglycoside present, shows only a small effect (<3-fold) on binding affinity of the nucleotide to the enzyme. The presence of metal–nucleotide, but not nucleotide alone, increases the binding affinity of aminoglycosides to APH. Replacement of magnesium (II) with manganese (II) lowered the catalytic rates significantly while affecting the substrate selectivity of the enzyme such that the aminoglycosides with 2′-NH2 become better substrates (higher Vmax) than those with 2′-OH. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Biopolymers 91: 801–809, 2009.
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