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Mutational dissection of a hole hopping route in a lytic polysaccharide monooxygenase (LPMO)

Nature Communications – Iván Ayuso-Fernández, Tom Z. Emrich-Mills, Julia Haak, Ole Golten, Kelsi R. Hall, Lorenz Schwaiger, Trond S. Moe, Anton A. Stepnov, Roland Ludwig, George E. Cutsail III, Morten Sørlie, Åsmund Kjendseth Røhr & Vincent G. H. Eijsink

Oxidoreductases have evolved tyrosine/tryptophan pathways that channel highly oxidizing holes away from the active site to avoid damage. Here we dissect such a pathway in a bacterial LPMO, member of a widespread family of C-H bond activating enzymes with outstanding industrial potential. We show that a strictly conserved tryptophan is critical for radical formation and hole transference and that holes traverse the protein to reach a tyrosine-histidine pair in the protein’s surface. Real-time monitoring of radical formation reveals a clear correlation between the efficiency of hole transference and enzyme performance under oxidative stress. Residues involved in this pathway vary considerably between natural LPMOs, which could reflect adaptation to different ecological niches. Importantly, we show that enzyme activity is increased in a variant with slower radical transference, providing experimental evidence for a previously postulated trade-off between activity and redox robustness.

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