Journal of the American Chemical Society

Interconversion of (S)-glutamate and (2S,3S)-3-methylaspartate: a distinctive B(12)-dependent carbon-skeleton rearrangement.

PMID 11506551


The interconversion of (S)-glutamate and (2S,3S)-3-methylaspartate catalyzed by B(12)-dependent glutamate mutase is discussed using results from high-level ab initio molecular orbital calculations. Evidence is presented regarding the possible role of coenzyme-B(12) in substrate activation and product formation via radical generation. Calculated electron paramagnetic resonance parameters support experimental evidence for the involvement of substrate-derived radicals and will hopefully aid the future detection of other important radical intermediates. The height of the rearrangement barrier for a fragmentation-recombination pathway, calculated with a model that includes neutral amino and carboxylic acid substituents in the migrating glycyl group, supports recent experimental evidence for the interconversion of (S)-glutamate and (2S,3S)-3-methylaspartate through such a pathway. Our calculations suggest that the enzyme may facilitate the rearrangement of (S)-glutamate through (partial) proton-transfer processes that control the protonation state of substituents in the migrating group.