The hydroxamic acid HONHCOCH2CH(i-Bu)CO-L-Trp-NHMe, isomer 6A (GM 6001), inhibits human skin fibroblast collagenase with Ki of 0.4 nM using the synthetic thiol ester substrate Ac-Pro-Leu-Gly-SCH(i-Bu)CO-Leu-Gly-OEt at pH 6.5. The other isomer, 6B, which has the opposite configuration at the CH2CH(i-Bu)CO alpha-carbon atom, has a Ki of 200 nM for this enzyme. GM 6001 is one of the most potent inhibitors of human skin fibroblast collagenase yet reported. GM 6001 has a Ki of 20 nM against thermolysin and Pseudomonas aeruginosa elastase. Isomer 6B has a Ki of 7 nM against thermolysin and 2 nM against the elastase. 6A and 6B are the most potent hydroxamate inhibitors reported for these bacterial enzymes. The pattern of inhibition for all three enzymes suggests that isomer 6A is the (R,S) compound, stereochemically analogous to the L,L-dipeptide, and isomer 6B is the (S,S) compound, analogous to the DL-dipeptide. The tolerance of the D configuration by thermolysin and the elastase allows these inhibitors to discriminate between the human and bacterial enzymes simply by inversion of configuration at the CH2CH(i-Bu)CO alpha-carbon atom. Substitution of the potential metal liganding groups carboxylate and hydrazide for the hydroxamate group yields much weaker inhibitors for all three enzymes.