The steady-state kinetics of glutathione S-transferase I1 (GST I1) from housefly Musca domestica expressed in Escherichia coli were investigated with glutathione (GSH) and 1-chloro-2,4-dinitrobenzene (CDNB). Concentrations of the varied substrates were from 0.03 to 1 mM for GSH and 0.05 to 1 mM for CDNB. Within this range, Michaelis-Menten behaviour was observed and convergent straight lines in double reciprocal plots excluded a ping-pong kinetic mechanism. Instead, data were consistent either with rapid-equilibrium random or with steady-state ordered sequential mechanisms because of abscissa convergence. Discrimination was achieved by studying the reaction with another electrophilic partner, p-nitrophenyl-acetate (PNPA). Concentrations of PNPA and GSH varied within the ranges 0.5 to 10 mM and 0.03 to 0.6 mM, respectively. The complete set of data supports the proposal of a rapid-equilibrium random-sequential model with strictly independent sites for GSH and CDNB or PNPA. Kinetic parameters are thus true dissociation equilibrium constants with values of 0.15 mM for GSH, 0.15 mM for CDNB, and 7 mM for PNPA. Analysis of the inhibition by the product (S-(2,4-dinitrophenyl)-glutathione, 10 to 100 microM), on the coupling reaction between GSH and CDNB with either GSH (0.05 to 0.5 mM, CDNB 0.2 mM) or CDNB (0.05 to 0.5 mM, GSH 0.2 mM) varied, consistent with the proposed mechanism. Binding of product to the free enzyme excludes GSH (competitive inhibition pattern with Kp = 12 microM) but only slightly hinders binding of CDNB. Binding free energies, together with the inhibition pattern, suggest that the non-peptidic moiety of product interacts with an alternative sub-site within the large open pocket accommodating the various electrophilic substrates. These results lead us to propose a model for intra-pocket shifting of the non-peptidic moiety upon product formation which contributes to the product release.