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J Am Chem Soc. 2001 Dec 19;123(50):12518-27.

Synthetic and structural studies on [Fe2(SR)2(CN)x(CO)6-x](x-) as active site models for Fe-only hydrogenases.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA.


A series of models for the active site (H-cluster) of the iron-only hydrogenase enzymes (Fe-only H2-ases) were prepared. Treatment of MeCN solutions of Fe2(SR)2(CO)6 with 2 equiv of Et4NCN gave [Fe2(SR)2(CN)2(CO)4](2-) compounds. IR spectra of the dicyanides feature four nu(CO) bands between 1965 and 1870 cm(-1) and two nu(CN) bands at 2077 and 2033 cm(-1). For alkyl derivatives, both diequatorial and axial-equatorial isomers were observed by NMR analysis. Also prepared were a series of dithiolate derivatives (Et4N)2[Fe2(SR)2(CN)2(CO)4], where (SR)2 = S(CH2)2S, S(CH2)3S. Reaction of Et4NCN with Fe2(S-t-Bu)2(CO)6 gave initially [Fe2(S-t-Bu)2(CN)2(CO)4](2-), which comproportionated to give [Fe2(S-t-Bu)2(CN)(CO)5](-). The mechanism of the CN(-)-for-CO substitution was probed as follows: (i) excess CN(-) with a 1:1 mixture of Fe2(SMe)2(CO)6 and Fe2(SC6H4Me)2(CO)6 gave no mixed thiolates, (ii) treatment of Fe2(S2C3H6)(CO)6 with Me3NO followed by Et4NCN gave (Et4N)[Fe2(S2C3H6)(CN)(CO)5], which is a well-behaved salt, (iii) treatment of Fe2(S2C3H6)(CO)6 with Et4NCN in the presence of excess PMe3 gave (Et4N)[Fe2(S2C3H6)(CN)(CO)4(PMe3)] much more rapidly than the reaction of PMe3 with (Et4N)[Fe2(S2C3H6)(CN)(CO)5], and (iv) a competition experiment showed that Et4NCN reacts with Fe2(S2C3H6)(CO)6 more rapidly than with (Et4N)[Fe2(S2C3H6)(CN)(CO)5]. Salts of [Fe2(SR)2(CN)2(CO)4](2-) (for (SR)2 = (SMe)2 and S2C2H4) and the monocyanides [Fe2(S2C3H6)(CN)(CO)5](-) and [Fe2(S-t-Bu)2(CN)(CO)5](-) were characterized crystallographically; in each case, the Fe-CO distances were approximately 10% shorter than the Fe-CN distances. The oxidation potentials for Fe2(S2C3H6)(CO)4L2 become milder for L = CO, followed by MeNC, PMe3, and CN(-); the range is approximately 1.3 V. In water,oxidation of [Fe2(S2C3H6)(CN)2(CO)4](2-) occurs irreversibly at -0.12 V (Ag/AgCl) and is coupled to a second oxidation.

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