The dihydrolipoyl acetyltransferase (E2) component of mammalian pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC) consists of 60 COOH-terminal domains as an inner assemblage and sequentially via linker regions an exterior pyruvate dehydrogenase (E1) binding domain and two lipoyl domains. Mature human E2, expressed in a protease-deficient Escherichia coli strain at 27°, was prepared in a highly purified form. Purified E2 had a high acetyltransferase activity, was well lipoylated based on its acetylation, and bound a large complement of bovine E1. Electron micrographs demonstrated that the inner core was assembled in the expected pentagonal dodecahedron shape with E1 binding around the inner core periphery. With saturating E1 and excess dihydrolipoyl dehydrogenase (E3) but no E3-binding protein (E3BP), the recombinant E2 supported the overall PDC reaction at 4% of the rate of bovine E2·E3BP subcomplex. The lipoates of assembled human E2 or its free bilipoyl domain region were reduced by E3 at rates proportional to the lipoyl domain concentration, but those of the E2-E3BP were rapidly used in a concentration- independent manner consistent with bound E3 rapidly using a set of lipoyl domains localized nearby. Given this restriction and the need for E3BP for high PDC activity, directed channeling of reducing equivalents to bound E3 must be very efficient in the complex. The recombinant E2 oligomer increased E1 kinase activity by up to 4-fold and, in a Ca2+-dependent process, increased phospho-E1 phosphatase activity more than 15-fold. Thus the E2 assemblage fully provides the molecular intervention whereby a single E2- bound kinase or phosphatase molecule rapidly phosphorylate or dephosphorylate, respectively, many E2-bound E1. Thus, we prepared properly assembled, fully functional human E2 that mediated enhanced regulatory enzyme activities but, lacking E3BP, supported low PDC activity.