Two new alkylating reagents, chloro- and bromo-acetylphosphonate, were found to be very effective thiol-blocking reagents. The pH-dependence of the reaction of BAP with 2,4-dinitrothiophenol (25°C,I 0.5) shows a tailing bell-shaped curve (with a plateau at high pH) characteristic of two ionizing groups: the thiol group (pK(a)3.2) and the phosphonate group (pK(a2) 4.6). The rate constant for the reaction of the monoanionic inhibitor with dinitrothiophenolate (k2 = 7 M-1.s-1) is 120 times larger than that of the dianionic species. The haloacetylphosphonates were found to be irreversible inhibitors of glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase from a variety of sources. They react with the active-site thiol group (Cys-149) and are half-site reagents with yeast glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase. Thus, when two of the identical four subunits are modified the enzyme is catalytically inactive. The effects of pH (7-10), 2H2O and NAD+ on the reaction with the yeast enzyme were examined in detail. NAD+ enhances the alkylation rates. The second-order rate constant does not show a simple sigmoidal dependence on pH but rather a tailing bell-shaped curve (pK(a) 7.0 and 8.4) qualitatively similar to that obtained with dinitrothiophenol. There is no significant solvent isotope effect on the limiting rate constants and a normal isotope effect on the two pK(a) values. The results are consistent with the more reactive enzyme species containing a thiolate and an acidic group that may either donate a proton to the dianionic haloacetylphosphonate or orient the inhibitor.