Characterization of a long overlooked copper protein from methane- and ammonia-oxidizing bacteria

Oriana S. Fisher, Grace E. Kenney, Matthew O. Ross, Soo Y. Ro, Betelehem E. Lemma, Sharon Batelu, Paul M. Thomas, Victoria C. Sosnowski, Caroline J. DeHart, Neil L. Kelleher, Timothy L. Stemmler, Brian M. Hoffman, Amy C. Rosenzweig*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Methane-oxidizing microbes catalyze the oxidation of the greenhouse gas methane using the copper-dependent enzyme particulate methane monooxygenase (pMMO). Isolated pMMO exhibits lower activity than whole cells, however, suggesting that additional components may be required. A pMMO homolog, ammonia monooxygenase (AMO), converts ammonia to hydroxylamine in ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) which produce another potent greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide. Here we show that PmoD, a protein encoded within many pmo operons that is homologous to the AmoD proteins encoded within AOB amo operons, forms a copper center that exhibits the features of a well-defined CuA site using a previously unobserved ligand set derived from a cupredoxin homodimer. PmoD is critical for copper-dependent growth on methane, and genetic analyses strongly support a role directly related to pMMO and AMO. These findings identify a copper-binding protein that may represent a missing link in the function of enzymes critical to the global carbon and nitrogen cycles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4276
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Characterization of a long overlooked copper protein from methane- and ammonia-oxidizing bacteria'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this