Particulate methane monooxygenase (pMMO) is one of the few enzymes that can activate methane. The metal content of this enzyme has been highly controversial, with suggestions of a dinuclear Fe site or mono-, di-, or trinuclear Cu sites. Crystal structures have shown a mono- or dinuclear Cu site, but the resolution was low and the geometry of the dinuclear site unusual. We have employed quantum refinement (crystallographic refinement enhanced with quantum-mechanical calculations) to improve the structure of the active site. We compared a number of different mono- and dinuclear geometries, in some cases enhanced with more protein ligands or one or two water molecules, to determine which structure fits two sets of crystallographic raw data best. In all cases, the best results were obtained with mononuclear Cu sites, occasionally with an extra water molecule. Thus, we conclude that there is no crystallographic support for a dinuclear Cu site in pMMO.
- density functional theory
- particulate methane monooxygenase
- quantum refinement
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