Date of Award

Summer 8-11-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dr. Giovanni Gadda


Choline oxidase catalyzes the flavin-dependent, two-step oxidation of choline to glycine betaine via the formation of an aldehyde intermediate. The oxidation of choline includes two reductive half-reactions followed by oxidative half-reactions. In the first oxidation reaction, the alcohol substrate is activated to its alkoxide via proton abstraction and oxidized via transfer of a hydride from the alkoxide α-carbon to the N(5) atom of the enzyme-bound flavin. In the wild-type enzyme, proton and hydride transfers are mechanistically and kinetically uncoupled.

The role of Ser101 was investigated in this dissertation. Replacement of Ser101 with threonine, alanine, cysteine, or valine demonstrated the importance of the hydroxyl group of Ser101 in proton abstraction and in hydride transfer. Moreover, the kinetic studies on the Ser101Ala variant have revealed the importance of a specific residue for the optimization of the overall turnover of choline oxidase. The UV-visbible absorbance of Ser101Cys suggests Cys101 can form an adduct with the C4a atom of the flavin. The mechanism of formation of the C4a-cysteinyl adduct has been elucidated.

D-arginine dehydrogenase (DADH) catalyzes the oxidation of D-amino acids to the corresponding imino acids, which are non-enzymatically hydrolyzed to α-keto acids and ammonia. The enzyme is strick dehrogenase and deoesnot react with molecular oxygen. Steady state kinetic studies wirh D-arginine and D-histidine as a substrate and PMS as the electron acceptor has been investigated. The enzyme has broad substrate specificity for D-amino acids except aspartate, glutamate and glycine, with preference for arginine and lysine. Leucine is the slowest substrate in which steady state kinetic parameters can be obtained. The chemical mechanism of leucine dehydrogenation catalyzed by DADH was explored with a combination of pH, substrate and solvent kinetic isotope effects (KIE) and proton inventories by using rapid kinetics in a stopped-flow spectrophotometer. The data are discussed in the context of the crystallographic structures at high resolutions (<1.3 Å) of the enzyme in complex with iminoarginine or iminohistidine.

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