Escherichia coli IMP dehydrogenase (EC was purified by affinity chromatography on immobilized nucleotides. The enzyme binds to agarose-bound 8-(6-aminohexyl)-AMP, N6-(6-aminohexyl)-AMP and 8-(8-amino-octyl)-IMP but not to immobilized NAD+ or Cibacron Blue F3G-A. AMP proved to be an effective eluent. A large-scale purification scheme in which 8-(6-aminohexyl)-AMP-agarose was used resulted in a homogeneous preparation of IMP dehydrogenase. The enzyme was also purified by immunoprecipitation with monospecific antisera. Sodium dodecyl sulphate/polyacrylamide-gel electrophoresis, N-terminal amino acid analysis and tryptic ‘finger-printing’ demonstrated that IMP dehydrogenase comprises identical subunits of mol.wt. 58000. Trypsin and Pronase cleave the 58000-mol.wt. subunit into peptides of mol.wts. 42000 and 14000, with a concomitant decrease in enzyme activity. These observations rationalize much of the contradictory data on the subunit composition of the enzyme found in the literature. GMP appears to be a competitive inhibitor with respect to IMP, with no evidence for regulatory behaviour being found. The two purification procedures were also used to purify inactive mutant enzymes from guaB mutant strains of E. coli.

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