The conversion from methane to methanol is catalyzed by methane monooxygenase (MMO) in methanotrophic bacteria. Earlier work on the crystal structures of the MMO hydroxylase component (MMOH) from Methylococcus capsulatus (Bath) at 4°C and -160°C has revealed two different core arrangements for the diiron active site. To ascertain the generality of these results, we have now carried out the first structural characterization on MMOH from Methylosinus trichosporium OB3b. Our X-ray absorption spectroscopic (XAS) analysis suggests the presence of two Fe-Fe distances of about 3 Å and 3.4 Å, which are proposed to reflect two populations of MMOH molecules with either a bis(μ-hydroxo)(μ-carboxylato)- or a (μ-hydroxo)(μ-carboxylato)diiron(III) core structure, respectively. The observation of these two different core structures, together with the crystallographic results of the MMOH from Methylococcus capsulatus (Bath), suggests the presence of an equilibrium that may reflect a core flexibility that is required to accommodate the various intermediates in the catalytic cycle of the enzyme. XAS studies on the binding of component B (MMOB) to the hydroxylase component show that MMOB does not perturb either this equilibrium or the gross structure of the oxidized diiron site in MMOH.
- Methane monooxygenase
- Oxygen activation