We report the observation of a deuterium kinetic isotope effect for the conversion of 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate into chorismate (6proR2HV = 1.13 +/- 0.03) using recombinant chorismate synthase from Escherichia coli. Similar isotope effects were observed for the decay of a spectroscopically characterized flavin intermediate (6proR2Hk = 1.17 +/- 0.04) during single-turnover experiments. The main rate-limiting steps and C-(6proR)-H bond breaking are therefore distinct and both must occur after the formation of the flavin intermediate and either before or concomitant with its decay.

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