A Flexible Glutamine Regulates the Catalytic Activity of Toluene o‑Xylene Monooxygenase

Toluene/o-xylene monooxygenase (ToMO) is a bacterial multicomponent monooxygenase capable of oxidizing aromatic substrates. The carboxylate-rich diiron active site is located in the hydroxylase component of ToMO (ToMOH), buried 12 Å from the surface of the protein. A small, hydrophilic pore is the shortest pathway between the diiron active site and the protein exterior. In this study of ToMOH from Pseudomonas sp. OX1, the functions of two residues lining this pore, N202 and Q228, were investigated using site-directed mutagenesis. Steady-state characterization of WT and the three mutant enzymes demonstrates that residues N202 and Q228 are critical for turnover. Kinetic isotope effects and pH profiles reveal that these residues govern the kinetics of water egress and prevent quenching of activated oxygen intermediates formed at the diiron active site. We propose that this activity arises from movement of these residues, opening and closing the pore during catalysis, as seen in previous X-ray crystallographic studies. In addition, N202 and Q228 are important for the interactions of the reductase and regulatory components to ToMOH, suggesting that they bind competitively to the hydroxylase. The role of the pore in the hydroxylase components of other bacterial multicomponent monooxygenases within the superfamily is discussed in light of these conclusions.