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Nature. 1993 Jun 24;363(6431):693-8.

Crystallographic analysis of the catalytic mechanism of haloalkane dehalogenase.

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BIOSON Research Institute and Laboratory of Biophysical Chemistry, University of Groningen, The Netherlands.


Crystal structures of haloalkane dehalogenase were determined in the presence of the substrate 1,2-dichloroethane. At pH 5 and 4 degrees C, substrate is bound in the active site without being converted; warming to room temperature causes the substrate's carbon-chlorine bond to be broken, producing a chloride ion with concomitant alkylation of the active-site residue Asp124. At pH 6 and room temperature the alkylated enzyme is hydrolysed by a water molecule activated by the His289-Asp260 pair in the active site. These results show that catalysis by the dehalogenase proceeds by a two-step mechanism involving an ester intermediate covalently bound at Asp124.

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