Glycerol and diol dehydratases exhibit a subunit composition of alpha 2 beta 2 gamma 2 and contain coenzyme B12 in the base-on form. The dehydratase reaction proceeds via a radical mechanism. The dehydratases are subject to reaction inactivation by the substrate glycerol which is caused by a cessation of the catalytic cycle because coenzyme B12 is not regenerated, instead 5'-deoxyadenosine and a catalytically inactive cobalamin are formed. The genetic organization of the dehydratase genes is quite similar in all organisms. Downstream of the dehydratase genes an open reading frame encoding a polypeptide of approximately 600 amino acids was identified which is apparently involved in the reactivation of suicide-inactivated enzyme.