Three crystal structures have been determined of active site specific substituted Cd(II) horse liver alcohol dehydrogenase and its complexes. Intensities were collected for the free, orthorhombic enzyme to 2.4-A resolution and for a triclinic binary complex with NADH to 2.7-A resolution. A ternary complex was crystallized from an equilibrium mixture of NAD+ and p-bromobenzyl alcohol. The microspectrophotometric analysis of these single crystals showed the protein-bound coenzyme to be largely NADH, which proves the complex to consist of CdII-LADH, NADH, and p-bromobenzyl alcohol. Intensity data for this abortive ternary complex were collected to 2.9-A resolution. The coordination geometry in the free Cd(II)-substituted enzyme is highly similar to that of the native enzyme. Cd(II) is bound to Cys-46, Cys-174, His-67, and a water molecule in a distorted tetrahedral geometry. Binding of coenzymes induces a conformational change similar to that in the native enzyme. The interactions between the coenzyme and the protein in the binary and ternary complexes are highly similar to those in the native ternary complexes. The substrate binds directly to the cadmium ion in a distorted tetrahedral geometry. No large, significant structural changes compared to the native ternary complex with coenzyme and p-bromobenzyl alcohol were found. The implications of these results for the use of active site specific Cd(II)-substituted horse liver alcohol dehydrogenase as a model system for the native enzyme are discussed.
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