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One is Lonely and Three is a Crowd: Two Coppers Are for Methane Oxidation


  • Financial support comes from the NIH (GM28962) (USA) and the WCU project (R31-2008-000-10010-0) (Korea). We also thank Prof. K. Yoshizawa (Kyushu Univ. (Japan)) for a precursor to Figure 2 (right).


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What/where is the active site? The determination of the metal ion content and makeup of the bacterial membrane protein methane monooxygenase (pMMO) has an enigmatic research history, despite protein X-ray structures. A new study appears to settle the issue; the dicopper center facilitates oxidation of methane to methanol. However, the unusual active-site environment leaves many questions for future investigations on the relevant copper-dioxygen chemistry and biochemistry.

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