Methane monooxygenases (MMOs) activate the high energy C-H bond of methane and convert it to methanol with high selectivity and under physiological conditions. Despite decades of efforts focusing on elucidating the structure, function and mechanism of soluble MMOs, the structure of a key intermediate (called compound Q) remains unknown. This article highlights a recent report by Banerjee et al. which not only firmly establishes the core-structure of Q, but also provides significant insight into its formation, reaction with methane and eventual decay.
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