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Biochemistry. 1990 Feb 6;29(5):1129-35.

Mechanism of reductive activation of cobalamin-dependent methionine synthase: an electron paramagnetic resonance spectroelectrochemical study.

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Biophysics Research Division, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 48109.


The mechanism of reductive methylation of cobalamin-dependent methionine synthase (5-methyltetrahydrofolate:homocysteine methyltransferase, EC has been investigated by electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroelectrochemistry. The enzyme as isolated is inactive, and its UV/visible absorbance and EPR spectra are characteristic of cob(II)alamin. There is an absolute requirement for catalytic amounts of AdoMet and a reducing system for the formation and maintenance of active enzyme during in vitro turnover. The midpoint potentials of the enzyme-bound cob(II)alamin/cob(I)alamin and cob(III)alamin/cob(II)alamin couples have been determined to be -526 +/- 5 and +273 +/- 4 mV (versus the standard hydrogen electrode), respectively. The presence of either CH3-H4folate or AdoMet shifts the equilibrium distribution of cobalamin species observed during reduction by converting cob(I)alamin to methylcobalamin. The magnitude of these shifts is however vastly different, with AdoMet lowering the concentration of cob(II)alamin at equilibrium by a factor of at least 3 X 10(7), while CH3-H4folate lowers it by a factor of 19. These studies of coupled reduction/methylation reactions elucidate the absolute requirement for AdoMet in the in vitro assay system, in which the ambient potential is approximately -350 mV versus the standard hydrogen electrode. At this potential, the equilibrium distribution of cobalamin in the presence of CH3-H4folate would be greatly in favor of the cob(II)alamin species, whereas in the presence of AdoMet the equilibrium favors methylated enzyme. In these studies, a base-on form of cob(II)alamin in which the dimethylbenzimidazole substituent of the corrin ring is the lower axial ligand for the cobalt has been observed for the first time on methionine synthase.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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