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Biochemistry. 1986 May 6;25(9):2558-64.

Energetics of proline racemase: fractionation factors for the essential catalytic groups in the enzyme-substrate complexes.


The fractionation factors of protons bound to the essential catalytic groups in proline racemase have been determined by comparison of the time courses of two competitive deuterium washout experiments. The rate of achievement of the maximum perturbation in the optical rotation has been measured in the oversaturated region (that is, at high substrate concentrations) under two conditions: in the first, we start with an equimolar mixture of deuterated substrate S' and of unlabeled product P; in the second, we again start with equal concentrations of substrate and product, but the concentration of the deuterated material S' is less than 20% that of S. The different concentrations of deuterated substrate produce different levels of deuteration of the enzyme's catalytic groups, the kinetic consequence of which allow the fractionation factors of these enzymic groups to be determined. The observed values for the fractionation factors of the enzyme's groups of 0.55 +/- 0.1 are only consistent with these groups' being thiols. This conclusion is supported by results of measurements of the solvent isotope effect determined in the unsaturated regime. These findings confirm the earlier suggestion of Abeles and his group that two cysteine residues mediate the catalysis of proline racemization by this enzyme.

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