A quick, reliable, purification procedure was developed for purifying both benzyl alcohol dehydrogenase and benzaldehyde dehydrogenase II from a single batch of Acinetobacter calcoaceticus N.C.I.B. 8250. The procedure involved disruption of the bacteria in the French pressure cell and preparation of a high-speed supernatant, followed by chromatography on DEAE-Sephacel, affinity chromatography on Blue Sepharose CL-6B and Matrex Gel Red A, and finally gel filtration through a Superose 12 fast-protein-liquid-chromatography column. The enzymes co-purified as far as the Blue Sepharose CL-6B step were separated on the Matrex Gel Red A column. The final preparations of benzyl alcohol dehydrogenase and benzaldehyde dehydrogenase II gave single bands on electrophoresis under non-denaturing conditions or on SDS/polyacrylamide-gel electrophoresis. The enzymes are tetramers, as judged by comparison of their subunit (benzyl alcohol dehydrogenase, 39,700; benzaldehyde dehydrogenase II, 55,000) and native (benzyl alcohol dehydrogenase, 155,000; benzaldehyde dehydrogenase II, 222,500) Mr values, estimated by SDS/polyacrylamide-gel electrophoresis and gel filtration respectively. The optimum pH values for the oxidation reactions were 9.2 for benzyl alcohol dehydrogenase and 9.5 for benzaldehyde dehydrogenase II. The pH optimum for the reduction reaction for benzyl alcohol dehydrogenase was 8.9. The equilibrium constant for oxidation of benzyl alcohol to benzaldehyde by benzyl alcohol dehydrogenase was determined to be 3.08 x 10(-11) M; the ready reversibility of the reaction catalysed by benzyl alcohol dehydrogenase necessitated the development of an assay procedure in which hydrazine was used to trap the benzaldehyde formed by the NAD+-dependent oxidation of benzyl alcohol. The oxidation reaction catalysed by benzaldehyde dehydrogenase II was essentially irreversible. The maximum velocities for the oxidation reactions catalysed by benzyl alcohol dehydrogenase and benzaldehyde dehydrogenase II were 231 and 76 mumol/min per mg of protein respectively; the maximum velocity of the reduction reaction of benzyl alcohol dehydrogenase was 366 mumol/min per mg of protein. The pI values were 5.0 for benzyl alcohol dehydrogenase and 4.6 for benzaldehyde dehydrogenase II. Neither enzyme activity was affected when assayed in the presence of a range of salts. Absorption spectra of the two enzymes showed no evidence that they contain any cofactors such as cytochrome, flavin, or pyrroloquinoline quinone. The kinetic coefficients of the purified enzymes with benzyl alcohol, benzaldehyde, NAD+ and NADH are also presented.

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