Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Giovanni Gadda - Committee Chair

Second Advisor

Aimin LIu - Committee Member

Third Advisor

Markus W. Germann - Committee Member


The enzymatic oxidation of choline to glycine betaine is of interest because organisms accumulate glycine betaine intracellularly in response to stress conditions, as such it is of potential interest for the genetic engineering of crops that do not naturally possess efficient pathways for the synthesis of glycine betaine, and for the potential development of drugs that target the glycine betaine biosynthetic pathway in human pathogens. To date, one of the best characterized enzymes belonging to this pathway is the flavin-dependent choline oxidase from Arthrobacter globiformis. In this enzyme, choline oxidation proceeds through two reductive half-reactions and two oxidative half-reactions. In each of the reductive half-reactions the FAD cofactor is reduced to the anionic hydroquinone form (2 e- reduced) which is followed by an oxidative half-reaction where the reduced FAD cofactor is reoxidized by molecular oxygen with formation and release of hydrogen peroxide. In this dissertation the roles of selected residues, namely histidine at position 310, valine at position 464 and serine at position 101, that do not directly participate in catalysis in the reaction catalyzed by choline oxidase have been elucidated. The effects on the overall reaction kinetics of these residues in the protein matrix were investigated by a combination of steady state kinetics, rapid kinetics, pH, mutagenesis, substrate deuterium and solvent isotope effects, viscosity effects as well as X-ray crystallography. A comparison of the kinetic data obtained for the variant enzymes to previous data obtained for wild-type choline oxidase are consistent with the valine residue at position 464 being important for the oxidative half-reaction as well as the positioning of the catalytic groups in the active site of the enzyme. The kinetic data obtained for the serine at position 101 shows that serine 101 is important for both the reductive and oxidative half-reactions. Finally, the kinetic data for histidine at position 310 suggest that this residue is essential for both the reductive and oxidative half-reactions.

Included in

Chemistry Commons