Document Type


Original Publication Date


Journal/Book/Conference Title

Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy



DOI of Original Publication



Originally published at

Date of Submission

October 2014


Traditionally, penicillin binding to serum proteins was believed to be a passive chemical process; however, it appears to be facilitated by serum factors. The objectives of this in vitro investigation were to examine facilitated penicillin haptenation, to study the kinetics of haptenation, and to determine the nature of haptenation-facilitating factors. The model involved addition of [3H]benzylpenicillin to serum or albumin solutions (at pH 7.3 to 7.4) and incubation at 37 degrees C for up to 72 h. The extent of penicillin binding to proteins in serum was found to be four- to fivefold higher than with solutions having comparable concentrations of purified albumin, total protein, or total immunoglobulin. Ultrafiltration of serum reduced penicillin binding to serum proteinssubstantially. An ultrafiltrable haptenation-facilitating factor(s) was found to be less than 0.5 kDa but was not calcium or magnesium. Finally, the extent of penicillin binding was related to albumin purity, as binding substantially increased with albumin purity. These findings suggest that there is a factor(s) in serum that facilitates covalent binding of penicillin to serum proteins. The factor(s) can be removed and then restored to increase penicillin binding to albumin. It appears that at least one component of the facilitation factor is less than 0.5 kDa, which suggests that it is not a peptide and that it is some simple serum component other than calcium or magnesium.


© 1993, American Society for Microbiology

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Publications from the Office of the Dean of the VCU School of Pharmacy