Kinetic mechanism and structural requirements of the amine-catalyzed decarboxylation of oxaloacetic acid

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The kinetic and chemical mechanism of amine-catalyzed decarboxylation of oxaloacetic acid at pH 8.0 has been reevaluated using a new and versatile assay. Amine-catalyzed decarboxylation of oxaloacetic acid proceeds via the formation of an imine intermediate, followed by decarboxylation of the intermediate and hydrolysis to yield pyruvate. The decrease in oxaloacetic acid was coupled to NADH formation by malate dehydrogenase, which allowed the rates of both initial carbinolamine formation (as part of the imination step) and decarboxylation to be determined. By comparing the rates observed for a variety of amines and, in particular, diamines, the structural and electronic requirements for diamine-catalyzed decarboxylation at pH 8.0 were identified. At pH 8.0, monoamines were found to be very poor catalysts, whereas some diamines, most notably ethylenediamine, were excellent catalysts. The results indicate that the second amino group of diamines enhances the rate of imine formation by acting as a proton shuttle during the carbinolamine formation step, which enables diamines to overcome high levels of solvation that would otherwise inhibit carbinolamine, and thus imine, formation. The presence of the second amino group may also enhance the rate of the carbinolamine dehydration step. In contrast to the findings of previous reports, the second amino group participates in the reaction by enhancing the rate of decarboxylation via hydrogen-bonding to the imine nitrogen to either stabilize the negative charge that develops on the imine during decarboxylation or preferentially stabilize the reactive imine over the unreactive enamine tautomer. These results provide insight into the precise catalytic mechanism of several enzymes whose reactions are known to proceed via an imine intermediate.

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The Journal of organic chemistry

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