Herein are reported unique properties of the novel human thiamin diphosphate (ThDP)-dependent enzyme 2-oxoadipate dehydrogenase (hE1a), known as dehydrogenase E1 and transketolase domain-containing protein 1 that is encoded by the DHTKD1 gene. It is involved in the oxidative decarboxylation of 2-oxoadipate (OA) to glutaryl-CoA on the final degradative pathway of l-lysine and is critical for mitochondrial metabolism. Functionally active recombinant hE1a has been produced according to both kinetic and spectroscopic criteria in our toolbox leading to the following conclusions: (i) The hE1a has recruited the dihydrolipoyl succinyltransferase (hE2o) and the dihydrolipoyl dehydrogenase (hE3) components of the tricarboxylic acid cycle 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase complex (OGDHc) for its activity. (ii) 2-Oxoglutarate (OG) and 2-oxoadipate (OA) could be oxidized by hE1a, however, hE1a displays an approximately 49-fold preference in catalytic efficiency for OA over OG, indicating that hE1a is specific to the 2-oxoadipate dehydrogenase complex. (iii) The hE1a forms the ThDP-enamine radical from OA according to electron paramagnetic resonance detection in the oxidative half reaction, and could produce superoxide and H2O2 from decarboxylation of OA in the forward physiological direction, as also seen with the 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase hE1o component. (iv) Once assembled to complex with the same hE2o and hE3 components, the hE1o and hE1a display strikingly different regulation: both succinyl-CoA and glutaryl-CoA significantly reduced the hE1o activity, but not the activity of hE1a.