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All Publications

  • Selective oxidation of exogenous substrates by a bis-Cu(III) bis-oxide complex: Mechanism and scope INORGANICA CHIMICA ACTA Large, T. G., Mahadevan, V., Keown, W., Stack, T. P. 2019; 486: 782–92
  • Metal ligand design: Diverging approaches Keown, W., Chiang, L., Gary, J., Wasinger, E., Stack, T. AMER CHEMICAL SOC. 2018
  • Cu(III) with imidazole ligation: Biologic relevance? Stack, T., Keown, W., Chiang, L., Gary, J., Wasinger, E. AMER CHEMICAL SOC. 2017
  • High-valent copper in biomimetic and biological oxidations JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL INORGANIC CHEMISTRY Keown, W., Gary, J. B., Stack, T. D. 2017; 22 (2-3): 289-305
  • High-valent copper in biomimetic and biological oxidations. Journal of biological inorganic chemistry Keown, W., Gary, J. B., Stack, T. D. 2016: -?


    A long-standing debate in the Cu-O2 field has revolved around the relevance of the Cu(III) oxidation state in biological redox processes. The proposal of Cu(III) in biology is generally challenged as no spectroscopic or structural evidence exists currently for its presence. The reaction of synthetic Cu(I) complexes with O2 at low temperature in aprotic solvents provides the opportunity to investigate and define the chemical landscape of Cu-O2 species at a small-molecule level of detail; eight different types are characterized structurally, three of which contain at least one Cu(III) center. Simple imidazole or histamine ligands are competent in these oxygenation reactions to form Cu(III) complexes. The combination of synthetic structural and reactivity data suggests (1) that Cu(I) should be considered as either a one or two electron reductant reacting with O2, (2) that Cu(III) reduction potentials of these formed complexes are modest and well within the limits of a protein matrix and (3) that primary amine and imidazole ligands are surprisingly good at stabilizing Cu(III) centers. These Cu(III) complexes are efficient oxidants for hydroxylating phenolate substrates with reaction hallmarks similar to that performed in biological systems. The remarkable ligation similarity of the synthetic and biological systems makes it difficult to continue to exclude Cu(III) from biological discussions.

    View details for PubMedID 27909921

  • Simplest Monodentate Imidazole Stabilization of the oxy-Tyrosinase Cu2 O2 Core: Phenolate Hydroxylation through a Cu(III) Intermediate. Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English) Chiang, L., Keown, W., Citek, C., Wasinger, E. C., Stack, T. D. 2016; 55 (35): 10453-10457


    Tyrosinases are ubiquitous binuclear copper enzymes that oxygenate to Cu(II) 2 O2 cores bonded by three histidine Nτ-imidazoles per Cu center. Synthetic monodentate imidazole-bonded Cu(II) 2 O2 species self-assemble in a near quantitative manner at -125 °C, but Nπ-ligation has been required. Herein, we disclose the syntheses and reactivity of three Nτ-imidazole bonded Cu(II) 2 O2 species at solution temperatures of -145 °C, which was achieved using a eutectic mixture of THF and 2-MeTHF. The addition of anionic phenolates affords a Cu(III) 2 O2 species, where the bonded phenolates hydroxylate to catecholates in high yields. Similar Cu(III) 2 O2 intermediates are not observed using Nπ-bonded Cu(II) 2 O2 species, hinting that Nτ-imidazole ligation, conserved in all characterized Ty, has functional advantage beyond active-site flexibility. Substrate accessibility to the oxygenated Cu2 O2 core and stabilization of a high oxidation state of the copper centers are suggested from these minimalistic models.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/anie.201605159

    View details for PubMedID 27440390