How prebiotic metabolic pathways could have formed is an essential question for the origins of life on early Earth. From the abiogenetic point of view, the emergence of primordial metabolism may be postulated as a continuum from Earth's geochemical processes to chemoautotrophic biochemical procedures on mineral surfaces. In the present study, we examined in detail the reversible amination of α-ketoglutarate on UV-irradiated ZnS particles under variable reaction conditions such as pH, temperature, hole scavenger species and concentrations, and different amino acids. It was observed that the reductive amination of α-ketoglutarate and the oxidative amination of glutamate were both effectively performed on ZnS surfaces in the presence and absence of a hole scavenger, respectively. Accordingly, a photocatalytic mechanism was proposed. The reversible photochemical reaction was more efficient under basic conditions but independent of temperature in the range of 30–60 °C. SO32− was more effective than S2− as the hole scavenger. Finally, we extended the glutamate dehydrogenase-like chemistry to a set of other α-amino acids and their corresponding α-oxo acids and found that hydrophobic amino acid side chains were more conducive to the reversible redox reactions. Since the experimental conditions are believed to have been prevalent in shallow water hydrothermal vent systems of early Earth, the results of this work not only suggest that the ZnS-assisted photochemical reaction can regulate the redox equilibrium between α-amino acids and α-oxo acids, but also provide a model of how prebiotic metabolic homoeostasis could have been developed and regulated. These findings can advance our understanding of the establishment of archaic non-enzymatic metabolic systems and the origins of autotrophy.