Glutamate mutase catalyses an unusual isomerization involving free-radical intermediates that are generated by homolysis of the cobalt–carbon bond of the coenzyme adenosylcobalamin (coenzyme B12). A variety of techniques have been used to examine the interaction between the protein and adenosylcobalamin, and between the protein and the products of coenzyme homolysis, cob(II)alamin and 5′-deoxyadenosine. These include equilibrium gel filtration, isothermal titration calorimetry, and resonance Raman, UV-visible and EPR spectroscopies. The thermodynamics of adenosylcobalamin binding to the protein have been examined and appear to be entirely entropy-driven, with ∆S = 109 Jċmol-1ċK-1. The cobalt–carbon bond stretching frequency is unchanged upon coenzyme binding to the protein, arguing against a ground-state destabilization of the cobalt–carbon bond of adenosylcobalamin by the protein. However, reconstitution of the enzyme with cob(II)alamin and 5′-deoxyadenosine, the two stable intermediates formed subsequent to homolysis, results in the blue-shifting of two of the bands comprising the UV-visible spectrum of the corrin ring. The most plausible interpretation of this result is that an interaction between the protein, 5′-deoxyadenosine and cob(II)alamin introduces a distortion into the ring corrin that perturbs its electronic properties.

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