Methylosinus-Trichosporium Ob3B Mutants Having Constitutive Expression Of Soluble Methane Monooxygenase In The Presence Of High-Levels Of Copper
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The methanotrophic bacterium Methylosinus trichosporium OB3b is unusually active in degrading recalcitrant haloalkanes such as trichloroethylene (TCE). The first and rate-limiting step in the degradation of TCE is catalyzed by a soluble methane monooxygenase (sMMO). This enzyme is not expressed when the cells are grown in the presence of copper at concentrations typically found in polluted groundwater. Under these conditions, M. trichosporium OB3b expresses a particulate form of the enzyme (pMMO), which has a narrow substrate specificity and does not degrade TCE at any significant rate. We have isolated M. trichosporium OB3b mutants that are deficient in pMMO and express sMMO constitutively in the presence of elevated concentrations of copper. One mutant (PP358) exhibited a TCE degradation rate which was almost twice as high as that of the wild-type strain grown under optimal conditions (without copper). All of the mutants lost the ability to express pMMO activity and to form stacked intracellular membranes characteristic of wild-type cells expressing pMMO.