All Publications

  • Mechanisms of O2 Activation by Mononuclear Non-Heme Iron Enzymes. Biochemistry Solomon, E. I., DeWeese, D. E., Babicz, J. T. 2021


    Two major subclasses of mononuclear non-heme ferrous enzymes use two electron-donating organic cofactors (alpha-ketoglutarate or pterin) to activate O2 to form FeIV═O intermediates that further react with their substrates through hydrogen atom abstraction or electrophilic aromatic substitution. New spectroscopic methodologies have been developed, enabling the study of the active sites in these enzymes and their oxygen intermediates. Coupled to electronic structure calculations, the results of these spectroscopies provide fundamental insight into mechanism. This Perspective summarizes the results of these studies in elucidating the mechanism of dioxygen activation to form the FeIV═O intermediate and the geometric and electronic structure of this intermediate that enables its high reactivity and selectivity in product formation.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/acs.biochem.1c00370

    View details for PubMedID 34266238

  • Nuclear Resonance Vibrational Spectroscopic Definition of the Fe(IV)2 Intermediate Q in Methane Monooxygenase and Its Reactivity. Journal of the American Chemical Society Jacobs, A. B., Banerjee, R., Deweese, D. E., Braun, A., Babicz, J. T., Gee, L. B., Sutherlin, K. D., Böttger, L. H., Yoda, Y., Saito, M., Kitao, S., Kobayashi, Y., Seto, M., Tamasaku, K., Lipscomb, J. D., Park, K., Solomon, E. I. 2021


    Methanotrophic bacteria utilize the nonheme diiron enzyme soluble methane monooxygenase (sMMO) to convert methane to methanol in the first step of their metabolic cycle under copper-limiting conditions. The structure of the sMMO Fe(IV)2 intermediate Q responsible for activating the inert C-H bond of methane (BDE = 104 kcal/mol) remains controversial, with recent studies suggesting both "open" and "closed" core geometries for its active site. In this study, we employ nuclear resonance vibrational spectroscopy (NRVS) to probe the geometric and electronic structure of intermediate Q at cryogenic temperatures. These data demonstrate that Q decays rapidly during the NRVS experiment. Combining data from several years of measurements, we derive the NRVS vibrational features of intermediate Q as well as its cryoreduced decay product. A library of 90 open and closed core models of intermediate Q is generated using density functional theory to analyze the NRVS data of Q and its cryoreduced product as well as prior spectroscopic data on Q. Our analysis reveals that a subset of closed core models reproduce these newly acquired NRVS data as well as prior data. The reaction coordinate with methane is also evaluated using both closed and open core models of Q. These studies show that the potent reactivity of Q toward methane resides in the "spectator oxo" of its Fe(IV)2O2 core, in contrast to nonheme mononuclear Fe(IV)═O enzyme intermediates that H atoms abstract from weaker C-H bonds.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/jacs.1c05436

    View details for PubMedID 34570980