Due to analytical limitations, thermodynamic modeling is a lucrative alternative for obtaining metal speciation in chemically complex systems like life. However, such modeling is limited by the lack of equilibrium constant data for metal-complexation reactions, particularly for metal-organic species. These problems were ameliorated estimating these properties from 0-125°C for ~18,000 metal complexes of small molecules, proteins and peptides.
The estimates of metal-ligand equilibrium constants at 25°C and 1 bar were made using multiple linear free energy relationships in accordance with the metal-coordinating properties of ligands such as denticity, identity of electron donor group, inductive effects and steric hindrance. Analogous relationships were made to estimated metal-ligand complexation entropy that facilitated calculation of equilibrium constants up to 125°C using the van’t Hoff equation. These estimates were made for over 250 ligands that include carboxylic acids, phenols, inorganic acids, amino acids, peptides and proteins.
The stability constants mentioned above were used to obtain metal speciation in several microbial growth media including past bioavailability studies and compositions listed on the DSMZ website. Speciation calculations were also carried out for several metals in blood plasma and cerebrospinal fluid that include metals present at over micromolar abundance (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc) and metals of therapeutic or toxic potential (like gallium, rhodium and bismuth). Metal speciation was found to be considerably dependent on pH and chelator concentration that can help in the selection of appropriate ligands for gallium & rhodium based anticancer drugs and zinc-based antidiabetics. It was found that methanobactin can considerably alter copper speciation and is therefore a suitable agent for the treatment of Wilson Disease. Additionally, bismuth neurotoxicity was attributed to the low transferrin concentration in cerebrospinal fluid and the predominance of aqueous bismuth trihydroxide. These results demonstrate that metal speciation calculations using thermodynamic modeling can be extremely useful for understanding metal bioavailability in microbes and human bodily fluids.
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