The regulatory component MMOB of soluble methane monooxygenase (sMMO) has been hypothesized to control access of substrates into the active site of the hydroxylase component (MMOH) through formation of a size specific channel or region of increased structural flexibility tuned to methane and O2. Accordingly, a decrease in the size of four MMOB residues (N107G/S109A/S110A/T111A, the Quad mutant) was shown to accelerate the reaction of substrates larger than methane with the reactive MMOH intermediate Q [Wallar, B. J., and Lipscomb, J. D. (2001) Biochemistry 40, 2220-2233]. Here, this hypothesis is tested by construction of single and double mutations involving the residues of the Quad mutant. It is shown that mutations of residues that extend into the core structure of MMOB alter many aspects of the MMOH catalyzed reaction but do not mimic the effects of the Quad mutant. In contrast, the MMOB residues that are thought to form part of the interface in the MMOH-MMOB complex increase active site accessibility as observed for the Quad mutant. In particular, the mutant T111A mimics most of the effects of the Quad mutant; thus, Thr111 is proposed to most directly control access. Unexpectedly, mutation of Thr111 to the larger Tyr greatly increases the rate constant for the reaction of larger substrates such as ethane, furan, and nitrobenzene with Q while decreasing the rate constant for the reaction with methane. Other steps in the cycle are dramatically slowed, the regiospecificity for nitrobenzene oxidation is altered, and 10-fold more T111Y than wild-type MMOB is required to maximize the rate of turnover. Thus, T111Y appears to make a more extensive change in local interface structure that allows hydrocarbons at least as large as ethane to bind and react with Q similarly. As a result, the bond cleavage rates for methane, ethane, and their deuterated analogues are shown for the first time to correlate with bond strength in accord with a mechanism in which C-H bond cleavage occurs during reaction of substrates with Q.