Low-temperature biological activation of methane: structure, function and molecular interactions of soluble and particulate methane monooxygenases Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2017, Springer Science+Business Media B.V. Mechanistic aspects of oxidation of methane to methanol by methanotrophic bacteria via methane monooxygenase (MMO) is still not well understood. Elucidating how various molecules pertinent to methane oxidation interact with each other at the MMO active site offers critical insights on low-temperature activation of methane, which is one of the greatest technical challenges in hydrocarbon chemistry. In this review, most recent contributions to the area are analyzed comparing soluble (sMMO) and particulate (pMMO) forms. Initially, the taxonomical, morphological and physiological differences of different methanotrophs are discussed. Then, the structural and functional differences of sMMO and pMMO are analyzed while considering substrate/product-cofactor-active site interactions. A docking analysis was performed using Autodock Vina to uncover interactions between cofactors and corresponding enzymes. With natural gas becoming a significant contributor to the energy continuum, this literature analysis and molecular simulations conducted brings new insights to low-temperature activation of methane.

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhang, S., Karthikeyan, R., & Fernando, S. D.

citation count

  • 3

publication date

  • October 2017