Techniques for Functional and Structural Modeling of Nitrogenase
Synthetic compounds play an important role in developing our understanding of nitrogenase enzymes, and over the years, a multitude of new metal-containing compounds have been created using nitrogenase as an inspiration. The techniques for handling coordination compounds in organic solvents are different than those commonly encountered in a biochemistry or molecular biology laboratory. This chapter describes the precautions that are essential for successful synthesis of air- and moisture-sensitive synthetic compounds and gives details of the synthesis of some coordinatively unsaturated iron-dinitrogen and iron-sulfide compounds of interest in nitrogenase research.
Key wordsSynthesis iron–sulfur cluster dinitrogen iron complexes air sensitive
Research on nitrogenase-relevant compounds in the Holland laboratory is funded by the National Institutes of Health (grant GM065313). Most of all, I thank the hardworking students and postdoctoral researchers at Rochester who have braved the difficulties of handling these sensitive yet interesting iron complexes. I also thank our spectroscopic collaborators, who have often struggled with issues of air and moisture sensitivity alongside us. In particular, Eckard Münck (and his students Hanspeter Andres and Sebastian Stoian) and Eckhard Bill (and his technician Bernd Mienert) designed and used cells that enabled Mössbauer analysis of these compounds.
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