Glucoamylase (1,4-alpha-glucan glucohydrolase, EC 22.214.171.124) from Aspergillus, of which the 3D structure is known, releases beta-D-glucose from the non-reducing ends of starch and other related oligo and polysaccharides, cleaving the alpha-1,4-bond positioned between subsites 1 and 2 in the enzyme-substrate complex. The presteady and steady state kinetics of two of the existing mutants, Glu180-->Gln and Asp176-->Asn, are presented here. The kinetic results are analyzed according to two reaction models: One suggested previously [Olsen, K., Svensson, B., & Christensen, U. (1992) Eur. J. Biochem. 209, 777-784], which contains three consecutive steps of the reaction, and one generally accepted and used in calculations of subsite energies [Hiromi, K. (1970) Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 40, 1-6], which assumes important non-productive binding and identical values of the intrinsic catalytic constant independent of the chain length of the substrate. It is found that glucoamylase shows kinetics in accordance with a consecutive three-step mechanism, in which the formation of the Michaelis complex occurs in two steps and is followed by a slow catalytic step and fast dissociation of the products with no accumulation of enzyme-product complexes. The kinetics, however, are not in accordance with the model generally used in subsite energy calculations. Thus the kinetic model on which very low values of subsite 1 and high values of subsite 2 interaction energies have been based is not correct. A greater importance of subsite 1 interactions than has hitherto been anticipated is indicated. The results of the Glu180-->Gln mutant show weak overall binding, which stems from large effects on the formation of the Michaelis complex in the second step of the reaction, but no or rather small effects on the initial association of enzyme and substrate, except for maltose. The mutant further shows effective catalysis. A hydrogen bond of the side chain carboxylate of Glu180 with the 2-OH of the sugar ring at subsite 2 is an expected important interaction of the Michaelis complex, as seen from the 3D structures of stabile enzyme-inhibitor complexes. Apparently this bond is established in the second reaction step. It is indicated that subsite 1 and 3 interactions to a great extent govern the initial association. In accordance with a dynamic role of Glu180, structural energy minimization calculations show a flexibility of the gamma-carboxylate of Glu180. The side chain of Asp176 participates in a hydrogen-bonding network also involving the backbone of Glu180 and Glu179, the catalytic acid. Compared with the wild-type enzyme, the Asp176-->Asn mutant shows no significant changes in binding. The catalytic rate is, however, markedly reduced. Apparently changes in the hydrogen bonding network of Asp176 are of importance in the rate-determining catalytic step, but not in the substrate binding steps. Structural energy minimization calculations on the Asp176-->Asn mutant, however, do not confirm this assumption.