Substrate specificity of sheep liver sorbitol dehydrogenase

Biochem J. 1998 Feb 15;330 ( Pt 1)(Pt 1):479-87. doi: 10.1042/bj3300479.


The substrate specificity of sheep liver sorbitol dehydrogenase has been studied by steady-state kinetics over the range pH 7-10. Sorbitol dehydrogenase stereo-selectively catalyses the reversible NAD-linked oxidation of various polyols and other secondary alcohols into their corresponding ketones. The kinetic constants are given for various novel polyol substrates, including L-glucitol, L-mannitol, L-altritol, D-altritol, D-iditol and eight heptitols, as well as for many aliphatic and aromatic alcohols. The maximum velocities (kcat) and the substrate specificity-constants (kcat/Km) are positively correlated with increasing pH. The enzyme-catalysed reactions occur by a compulsory ordered kinetic mechanism with the coenzyme as the first, or leading, substrate. With many substrates, the rate-limiting step for the overall reaction is the enzyme-NADH product dissociation. However, with several substrates there is a transition to a mechanism with partial rate-limitation at the ternary complex level, especially at low pH. The kinetic data enable the elucidation of new empirical rules for the substrate specificity of sorbitol dehydrogenase. The specificity-constants for polyol oxidation vary as a function of substrate configuration with D-xylo> D-ribo > L-xylo > D-lyxo approximately L-arabino > D-arabino > L-lyxo. Catalytic activity with a polyol or an aromatic substrate and various 1-deoxy derivatives thereof varies with -CH2OH > -CH2NH2 > -CH2OCH3 approximately -CH3. The presence of a hydroxyl group at each of the remaining chiral centres of a polyol, apart from the reactive C2, is also nonessential for productive ternary complex formation and catalysis. A predominantly nonpolar enzymic epitope appears to constitute an important structural determinant for the substrate specificity of sorbitol dehydrogenase. The existence of two distinct substrate binding regions in the enzyme active site, along with that of the catalytic zinc, is suggested to account for the lack of stereospecificity at C2 in some polyols.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Kinetics
  • L-Iditol 2-Dehydrogenase / metabolism*
  • Liver / enzymology*
  • Molecular Conformation
  • Sheep
  • Stereoisomerism
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Substrate Specificity


  • L-Iditol 2-Dehydrogenase