Explorations of iron-iron hydrogenase active site models by experiment and theory
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This dissertation describes computational and experimental studies of synthetic complexes that model the active site of the iron-iron hydrogenase [FeFe]H2ase enzyme. Simple dinuclear iron dithiolate complexes act as functional models of the ironiron hydrogenase enzyme by catalyzing isotopic exchange in D2/H2O mixtures. Density Functional Theory (DFT) calculations and new experiments have been performed that suggest reasonable mechanistic explanations for this reactivity. Evidence for the existence of an acetone derivative of the di-iron complex, as suggested by theory, is presented. Bis-phosphine substituted dinuclear iron dithiolate complexes react with the electrophilic species, H+ and Et+ (Et+ = CH3CH2 +) with differing regioselectivity; H+ reacts to form a 3c-2eâ Fe-H-Fe bond, while Et+ reacts to form a new C-S bond. The instability of a bridging ethyl complex is attributed to the inability of the ethyl group, in contrast to a hydride, to form a stable 3c-2eâ bond with the two iron centers. Gas-phase density functional theory calculations are used to predict the solutionphase infrared spectra for a series of CO and CN-containing dinuclear iron complexes dithiolate. It is shown that simple linear scaling of the computed C-O and C-N stretching frequencies yields accurate predictions of the experimentally determined Î½(CO) and Î½(CN) values. An N-heterocyclic carbene containing [FeFe]H2ase model complex, whose X-ray structure displays an apical carbene, is shown to undergo an unexpected simultaneous two-electron reduction. DFT shows, in addition to a one-electron Fe-Fe reduction, that the aryl-substituted N-heterocyclic carbene can accept a second electron more readily than the Fe-Fe manifold. The juxtaposition of these two one-electron reductions resembles the [FeFe]H2ase active site with an FeFe di-iron unit joined to the electroactive 4Fe4S cluster. Simple synthetic di-iron dithiolate complexes synthesized to date fail to reproduce the precise orientation of the diatomic ligands about the iron centers that is observed in the molecular structure of the reduced form of the enzyme active site. Herein, DFT computations are used for the rational design of synthetic complexes as accurate structural models of the reduced form of the enzyme active site.
simulating infrared spectra
Tye, Jesse Wayne (2006). Explorations of iron-iron hydrogenase active site models by experiment and theory. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from