Peptidylglycine α-hydroxylating monooxygenase (PHM) and dopamine β-monooxygenase (DβM) are homologous copper-containing enzymes that catalyze an oxygen-dependent hydroxylation of peptide-extended glycine residues and phenethylamines, respectively. The mechanism whereby these enzymes activate molecular oxygen and the C-H bond of substrate has been the subject of numerous studies, and various mechanisms have been put forth. From the magnitude of 18O isotope effects as a function of substrate structure in DβM, an active site tyrosine had been proposed to function in the reductive activation of Cu(II)-OOH to generate a reactive copper-oxo species [Tian et al. (1994) Biochemistry 33, 226]. The presence of a tyrosine residue, Y318, in the active site of PHM was subsequently confirmed from crystallographic studies [Prigge et al. (1997) Science 278, 1300]. We now report extensive kinetic and isotope effect studies on the Y318F mutant form of PHM, analyzing the role of this tyrosine in the catalytic mechanism. It is found that the Y318F mutant has intrinsic hydrogen and 18O isotope effects that are within experimental error of the wild-type enzyme and that the mutation causes only a slight reduction in the rate constant for C-H bond cleavage. These findings, together with the recent demonstration that C-H activation in PHM is dominated by quantum mechanical tunneling [Francisco et al. (2002) J. Am. Chem. Soc. 124, 8194], necessitate a reexamination of plausible mechanisms for this unique class of copper enzymes.
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