Biomimetic models of [FeFe]-hydrogenase: utilization of peptides and redox non-innocent ligands in synthetic catalysts

Document
Description

[FeFe]-hydrogenases are enzymes for the reduction of protons to hydrogen. They rely on only the earth abundant first-row transition metal iron at their active site (H cluster). In recent years,

[FeFe]-hydrogenases are enzymes for the reduction of protons to hydrogen. They rely on only the earth abundant first-row transition metal iron at their active site (H cluster). In recent years, a multitude of diiron mimics of hydrogenases have been synthesized, but none of them catalyzes hydrogen production with the same exquisite combination of high turnover frequency and low activation energy as the enzymes. Generally, model complexes fail to include one or both of two features essential to the natural enzyme: an intricate array of outer coordination sphere contacts that constrain the coordination geometry to attain a catalytically optimal conformation, and the redox non-innocence of accessory [FeS] clusters found at or near the hydrogen-activating site. The work presented herein describes the synthesis and electrocatalytic characterization of iron-dithiolate models designed to incorporate these features. First, synthetic strategies are developed for constructing peptides with artificial metal-binding motifs, such as 1,3-dithiolate and phosphines, which are utilized to append diiron-polycarbonyl clusters onto a peptide. The phosphine-functionalized peptides are shown to be better electrocatalysts for proton reduction in water/acetonitrile mixtures than in neat acetonitrile. Second, we report the impact of redox non-innocent ligands on the electrocatalytic properties of two types of [FeFe]-hydrogenase models: dinuclear and mononuclear iron complexes. The bidentate, redox non-innocent α-diimine ligands (N-N), 2,2'-bipyridine and 2,2' bipyrimidine, are used to create complexes with the general formula (μ-SRS)Fe2(CO)4(N-N), new members of the well known family of asymmetric diiron carbonyls. While the 2,2'-bipyridine derivatives can act as electrocatalysts for proton reduction, surprisingly, the 2,2'-bipyrimidine analogues are found to be inactive towards catalysis. Electrochemical investigation of two related Fe(II) complexes, (bdt)Fe(CO)P2 for bdt = benzene-1,2-dithiolate and P2 = 1,1'-diphenylphosphinoferrocene or methyl-2-{bis(diphenylphosphinomethylamino}acetate, related to the distal iron in [FeFe]-hydrogenase show that these complexes catalyze the reduction of protons under mild conditions. However, their reactivities toward the external ligand CO are distinguished by gross geometrical differences.