X-ray absorption spectroscopy was used to investigate the metal-binding sites of ImiS from Aeromonas veronii bv. sobria in catalytically active (1-Zn), product-inhibited (1-Zn plus imipenem), and inactive (2-Zn) forms. The first equivalent of zinc(II) was found to bind to the consensus Zn(2) site. The reaction of 1-Zn ImiS with imipenem leads to a product-bound species, coordinated to Zn via a carboxylate group. The inhibitory binding site of ImiS was examined by a comparison of wild-type ImiS with 1 and 2 equiv of bound zinc. 2-Zn ImiS extended X-ray absorption fine structure data support a binding site that is distant from the active site and contains both one sulfur donor and one histidine ligand. On the basis of the amino acid sequence of ImiS and the crystal structure of CphA [Garau et al. (2005) J. Mol. Biol. 345, 785-795], we propose that the inhibitory binding site is formed by M146, found on the B2-distinct alpha3 helix, and H118, a canonical Zn(1) ligand, proposed to help activate the nucleophilic water. The mutation of M146 to isoleucine abolishes metal inhibition. This is the first characterization of ImiS with the native metal Zn and establishes, for the first time, the location of the inhibitory metal site.