A detailed kinetic study of the interactions between BRL 42715, a beta-lactamase-inhibiting penem, and various beta-lactamases (EC 188.8.131.52) and D-alanyl-D-alanine peptidases (DD-peptidases, EC 184.108.40.206) is presented. The compound was a very efficient inactivator of all active-site serine beta-lactamases but was hydrolyzed by the class B, Zn(2+)-containing enzymes, with very different kcat values. Inactivation of the Streptomyces sp. strain R61 extracellular DD-peptidase was not observed, and the Actinomadura sp. strain R39 DD-peptidase exhibited a low level of sensitivity to the compound.