We report the Raman spectra of reduced and oxidized nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH and NAD+, respectively) and adenosine 5’-diphosphate ribose (ADPR) when bound to the coenzyme site of liver alcohol dehydrogenase (LADH). The bound NADH spectrum is calculated by taking the classical Raman difference spectrum of the binary complex, LADH/NADH, with that of LADH. We have investigated how the bound NADH spectrum is affected when the ternary complexes with inhibitors are formed with dimethyl sulfoxide (Me2SO) or isobutyramide (IBA), i.e., LADH/NADH/Me2SO or LADH/ NADH/IBA. Similarly, the difference spectra of LADH/NAD+/pyrazole or LADH/ADPR with LADH are calculated. The magnitude of these difference spectra is on the order of a few percent of the protein Raman spectrum. We report and discuss the experimental configuration and control procedures we use in reliably calculating such small difference signals. These sensitive difference techniques could be applied to a large number of problems where the classical Raman spectrum of a “small” molecule, like adenine, bound to the active site of a protein is of interest. The spectrum of bound ADPR allows an assignment of the bands of the bound NADH and NAD+ spectra to normal coordinates located primarily on either the nicotinamide or the adenine moiety. By comparing the spectra of the bound coenzymes with model compound data and through the use of deuteriated compounds, we confirm and characterize how the adenine moiety is involved in coenzyme binding and discuss the validity of the suggestion that the adenine ring is protonated upon binding. The nicotinamide moiety of NADH shows significant molecular changes upon binding. We find that the aromatic nature of the NAD+ nicotinamide ring is disrupted in the ternary complex LADH/NAD+/pyrazole. We discuss various models which are consistent with the data and with the enzymatic mechanism of LADH. We finally note that the rather dramatic changes in the coenzyme molecular structure, that occur when NADH or NAD+ binds, are not necessarily repeated at other dehydrogenase binding sites.
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