What is it about?

[4Fe4S] cluster complexes are biological cofactors crucial to all domains of life. Among many, their most important role is electron transfer. Here, we disclose a 50-year long standing challenge in the field of bioinorganic chemistry, by preparing and characterizing a series of synthetic [4Fe4S] complexes spanning the largest number of possible oxidation states.

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Why is it important?

Synthetic models of [4Fe4S] clusters were first discovered in the late 60s. Since then, comparing the spectroscopic fingerprints of synthetic models with data recorded on biological samples has enabled our modern-day understanding of electron transfer in iron-sulfur proteins. The series of models presented here is the first complete and truly systematic one, providing a unique library for biochemists to work with.


I hope that readers will appreciate the conceptual beauty of fundamental coordination chemistry. As usual, this story, which might sound complicated and scientific at first and upon reading the journal article, can be described in simple terms: Adding and removing electrons one-by-one in a small molecule, that is engineered to do so.

Liam Grunwald
ETH Zürich

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: A complete biomimetic iron-sulfur cubane redox series, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, July 2022, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2122677119.
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