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Ammonia monooxygenase (AMO) is a key enzyme in ammonia oxidation and a member of the copper-containing membrane monooxygenase (CuMMO) superfamily of enzymes. Despite the pivotal role of the AMO in the global nitrogen cycle, amazingly little is known about the function and structure of this enzyme. The AMO initiates nitrification by converting ammonia to hydroxylamine. However, the previously characterised enzymes of the CuMMO superfamily have a broad substrate range and many open question remain about potential alternative substrates of the AMO from Thaumarchaea.

We are interested in the following questions:

  • What is the substrate range of the archaeal AMO?

  • How do substrates interact with the AMO?

  • Can the archaeal AMO oxidise compounds other than ammonia, and what are the ecological consequences of such co-oxidation?

  • Is ammonium transport coupled to oxidation?

For more information on this topic, see a recent manuscript from our lab:

Wright, CL, Schatteman A, Crombie AT, Murrell JC, Lehtovirta-Morley LE. Inhibition of ammonia monooxygenase from ammonia oxidising archaea by linear and aromatic alkynes. Appl Environ Microbiol 86:e02388-19.

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