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J Am Chem Soc. 2010 Mar 24;132(11):4006-15. doi: 10.1021/ja9090098.

Fe L-edge X-ray absorption spectroscopy determination of differential orbital covalency of siderophore model compounds: electronic structure contributions to high stability constants.

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Department of Chemistry, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.


Most bacteria and fungi produce low-molecular-weight iron chelators called siderophores. Although different siderophore structures have been characterized, the iron-binding moieties often contain catecholate or hydroxamate groups. Siderophores function because of their extraordinarily high stability constants (K(STAB) = 10(30)-10(49)) and selectivity for Fe(III), yet the origin of these high stability constants has been difficult to quantify experimentally. Herein, we utilize Fe L-edge X-ray absorption spectroscopy to determine the differential orbital covalency (i.e., the differences in the mixing of the metal d-orbitals with ligand valence orbitals) of a series of siderophore model compounds. The results enable evaluation of the electronic structure contributions to their high stability constants in terms of sigma- and pi-donor covalent bonding, ionic bonding, and solvent effects. The results indicate substantial differences in the covalent contributions to stability constants of hydroxamate and catecholate complexes and show that increased sigma as well as pi bonding contributes to the high stability constants of catecholate complexes.

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