The importance of each active-site residue in adenosylcobalamin-dependent diol dehydratase of Klebsiella oxytoca was estimated using mutant enzymes in which one of the residues interacting with substrate and/or K+ was mutated to Ala or another amino acid residue. The Eα170A and Dα335A mutants were totally inactive, and the Hα143A mutant showed only a trace of activity, indicating that Glu-α170, Asp-α335, and His-α143 are catalytic residues. The Qα141A, Qα296A, and Sα362A mutants showed partial activity. It was suggested from kinetic parameters that Gln-α296 is important for substrate binding and Gln-α296 and Gln-α141 for preventing the enzyme from mechanism-based inactivation. The Eα221A, Eα170H, and Dα335A did not form the (αβγ)2 complex, suggesting that these mutations indirectly disrupt subunit contacts. Among other Glu-α170 and Asp-α335 mutants, Eα170D and Eα170Q were 2.2 ± 0.3% and 0.02% as active as the wild-type enzyme, respectively, whereas Dα335N was totally inactive. Kinetic analysis indicated that the presence and the position of a carboxyl group in the residue α170 are essential for catalysis as well as for the continuous progress of catalytic cycles. It was suggested that the roles of Glu-α170 and Asp-α335 are to participate in the binding of substrate and intermediates and keep them appropriately oriented and to function as a base in the dehydration of the 1,1-diol intermediate. In addition, Glu-α170 seems to stabilize the transition state for the hydroxyl group migration from C2 to C1 by accepting the proton of the spectator hydroxyl group on C1.
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