The mechanism of action of ethanolamine ammonia-lyase, an adenosylcobalamin-dependent enzyme. Evidence that the hydrogen transfer mechanism involves a second intermediate hydrogen carrier in addition to the cofactor.
Ethanolamine ammonia-lyase catalyzes the adenosylcobalamin (AdoCbl)-dependent conversion of ethanolamine to acetaldehyde and ammonia. During this reaction, a hydrogen atom migrates from the carbinol carbon of ethanolamine to the methyl carbon of acetaldehyde. Previous studies have shown that this migrating hydrogen equilibrates with the hydrogens on the 5'-(cobalt-linked) carbon of the cofactor. On the basis of those studies, a two-step mechanism for hydrogen transfer has been postulated in which the migrating hydrogen is first transferred from the substrate to the cofactor, then in a subsequent step is returned from the cofactor to the product. We now show that this migrating hydrogen is transferred not only to the cofactor, but also to a second acceptor at the active site. Hydrogens on this acceptor do not exchange with water during the course of the reaction, but are released to water when the enzyme is denatured. The catalytic significance of this second hydrogen acceptor was demonstrated by the findings that the transfer of hydrogen to this acceptor required both AdoCbl and active enzyme and that hydrogen at the second acceptor site could be washed out by unlabeled ethanolamine. On the basis of these results, we propose an expanded hydrogen transfer mechanism in which AdoCbl and the second acceptor site serve as alternative intermediate hydrogen carriers during the course of ethanolamine deamination.
O'Brien, RJ; Fox, JA; Kopczynski, MG; Babior, BM
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