The highly symmetric pyruvate dehydrogenase multienzyme complexes have molecular masses ranging from 5 to 10 million daltons. They consist of numerous copies of three different enzymes: pyruvate dehydrogenase, dihydrolipoyl transacetylase, and lipoamide dehydrogenase. The three-dimensional crystal structure of the catalytic domain of Azotobacter vinelandii dihydrolipoyl transacetylase has been determined at 2.6 angstrom (A) resolution. Eight trimers assemble as a hollow truncated cube with an edge of 125 A, forming the core of the multienzyme complex. Coenzyme A must enter the 29 A long active site channel from the inside of the cube, and lipoamide must enter from the outside. The trimer of the catalytic domain of dihydrolipoyl transacetylase has a topology identical to chloramphenicol acetyl transferase. The atomic structure of the 24-subunit cube core provides a framework for understanding all pyruvate dehydrogenase and related multienzyme complexes.

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