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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1990 May;87(9):3401-4.

Mechanism of the selective functionalization of saturated hydrocarbons by Gif systems: relationship with methane monooxygenase.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Texas A&M University, College Station 77843.


Two intermediates, A and B, have been identified in the selective oxidation of saturated hydrocarbons to ketones by Gif-type systems. Intermediate A has been characterized as an Fev species with a secondary iron sigma-bond to carbon; it is captured by four different reagents or transformed into the second intermediate, B, which hydrolyzes to form a secondary alcohol. A mu-oxo Fe2III dimer is proposed as a basis for Gif-type reactivity. If the first iron is involved in the synthesis of intermediate A, the second is used to oxidize intermediate B intramolecularly to a ketal, which on hydrolysis yields a ketone. The enzyme methane monooxygenase shows a remarkable similarity to Gif-type systems in its selective hydrocarbon oxidation, particularly in the case of adamantane.

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