An Escherichia coli K12 strain was constructed that synthesized elevated quantities of Klebsiella aerogenes D-arabitol dehydrogenase; the enzyme accounted for about 5% of the soluble protein in this strain. Some 280 mg of enzyme was purified from 180 g of cell paste. The purified enzyme was active as a monomer of 46,000 mol.wt. The amino acid composition and kinetic constants of the enzyme for D-arabitol and D-mannitol are reported. The apparent Km for D-mannitol was more than 3-fold that for D-arabitol, whereas the maximum velocities with both substrates were indistinguishable. The enzyme purified from the E. coli K12 construct was indistinguishable by the criteria of molecular weight, electrophoretic mobility in native polyacrylamide gel and D-mannitol/D-arabitol activity ratio from D-arabitol dehydrogenase synthesized in wild-type K. aerogenes. Purified D-arabitol dehydrogenase showed no immunological cross-reaction with K. aerogenes ribitol dehydrogenase. During electrophoresis in native polyacrylamide gels, oxidation by persulphate catalysed the formation of inactive polymeric forms of the enzyme. Dithiothreitol and pre-electrophoresis protected against this polymerization.

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