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Role of the Azadithiolate Cofactor in Models for [FeFe]-Hydrogenase: Novel Structures and Catalytic Implications

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journal contribution
posted on 22.12.2010 by Matthew T. Olsen, Thomas B. Rauchfuss, Scott R. Wilson
This paper summarizes studies on the redox behavior of synthetic models for the [FeFe]-hydrogenases, consisting of diiron dithiolato carbonyl complexes bearing the amine cofactor and its N-benzyl derivative. Of specific interest are the causes of the low reactivity of oxidized models toward H2, which contrasts with the high activity of these enzymes for H2 oxidation. The redox and acid−base properties of the model complexes [Fe2[(SCH2)2NR](CO)3(dppv)(PMe3)]+ ([2]+ for R = H and [2′]+ for R = CH2C6H5, dppv = cis-1,2-bis(diphenylphosphino)ethylene)) indicate that addition of H2 followed by deprotonation are (i) endothermic for the mixed valence (FeIIFeI) state and (ii) exothermic for the diferrous (FeIIFeII) state. The diferrous state is shown to be unstable with respect to coordination of the amine to Fe, a derivative of which was characterized crystallographically. The redox and acid−base properties for the mixed valence models differ strongly for those containing the amine cofactor versus those derived from propanedithiolate. Protonation of [2′]+ induces disproportionation to a 1:1 mixture of the ammonium [H2′]+ (FeIFeI) and the dication [2′]2+ (FeIIFeII). This effect is consistent with substantial enhancement of the basicity of the amine in the FeIFeI state vs the FeIIFeI state. The FeIFeI ammonium compounds are rapid and efficient H-atom donors toward the nitroxyl compound TEMPO. The atom transfer is proposed to proceed via the hydride. Collectively, the results suggest that proton-coupled electron-transfer pathways should be considered for H2 activation by the [FeFe]-hydrogenases.