The role of substrate binding pocket residues phenylalanine 176 and phenylalanine 196 on Pseudomonas sp. OX1 toluene o-xylene monooxygenase activity and regiospecificity

Burcu Sönmez, K. Cansu Yanik-Yildirim, Thomas K. Wood, Gönül Vardar-Schara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


Saturation mutagenesis was used to generate eleven substitutions of toluene-o-xylene monooxygenase (ToMO) at alpha subunit (TouA) positions F176 and F196 among which nine were novel: F176H, F176N, F176S, F176T, F196A, F196L, F196T, F196Y, F196H, F196I, and F196V. By testing the substrates phenol, toluene, and naphthalene, these positions were found to influence ToMO oxidation activity and regiospecificity. Specifically, TouA variant F176H was identified that had 4.7-, 4.3-, and 1.8-fold faster hydroxylation activity towards phenol, toluene, and naphthalene, respectively, compared to native ToMO. The F176H variant also produced the novel product hydroquinone (61%) from phenol, made twofold more 2-naphthol from naphthalene (34% vs. 16% by the wild-type ToMO), and had the regiospecificity of toluene changed from 51% to 73% p-cresol. The TouA F176N variant had the most para-hydroxylation capability, forming p-cresol (92%) from toluene and hydroquinone (82%) from phenol as the major product, whereas native ToMO formed 30% o-cresol, 19% m-cresol, and 51% of p-cresol from toluene and 100% catechol from phenol. For naphthalene oxidation, TouA variant F176S exhibited the largest shift in the product distribution by producing threefold more 2-naphthol. Among the other F196 variants, F196L produced catechol from phenol two times faster than the wild-type enzyme. The TouA F196I variant produced twofold less o-cresol and 19% more p-cresol from toluene, and the TouA F196A variant produced 62% more 2-naphthol from naphthalene compared to wild-type ToMO. Both of these positions have never been studied through the saturation mutagenesis and some of the best substitutions uncovered here have never been predicted and characterized for aromatics hydroxylation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1506-1512
Number of pages7
JournalBiotechnology and bioengineering
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2014


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

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