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J Biol Chem. 1989 Oct 25;264(30):17698-703.

Substrate specificity of soluble methane monooxygenase. Mechanistic implications.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, University of Warwick, Coventry, West Midlands, United Kingdom.


Following the example set by studies of the mechanistic aspects of the substrate specificity of various cytochrome P-450 enzymes, we have undertaken a parallel investigation of the soluble methane monooxygenase from Methylococcus capsulatus (Bath). Soluble methane monooxygenase is a multicomponent enzyme with a broad substrate specificity. Using substrates previously tested with cytochrome P-450 enzymes and using purified enzyme preparations, this work indicates that soluble methane monooxygenase has a similar oxidative reaction mechanism to cytochrome P-450 enzymes. The evidence suggests that soluble methane monooxygenase oxidizes substrates via a nonconcerted reaction mechanism (hydrogen abstraction preceding hydroxylation) with radical or carbocation intermediates. Aromatic hydroxylation proceeds by epoxidation followed by an NIH shift.

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