Reaction Mechanisms of Metalloenzymes and Synthetic Model Complexes Activating Dioxygen : A Computational study

Abstract: Quantum chemistry has nowadays become a powerful and efficient tool that can be successfully used for studies of biosystems. It is therefore possibleto model the enzyme active-site and the reactions undergoing into it, as well as obtaining quite accurate energetic profiles. Important conclusions can be drawn from such profiles about the  plausibility of different putative mechanisms. Density Functional Theory is used in the present thesis for investigation of the catalytic mechanism of dioxygenase metallo-enzymes and synthetic model complexes. Three enzymes were studied – Homoprotocatechuate 2,3-dioxygenase isolated from Brevibacterium fuscum (Bf 2,3-HPCD), Manganese-Dependent Homoprotocatechuate 2,3-Dioxygenase (MndD) and Homogentisate Dioxygenase (HGD). Models consisting of 55 to 208 atoms have been built from X-ray crystal structures and used in the calculations. The computed energies were put in energy curves and were used for estimation of the feasibility of the suggested reaction mechanisms. A non-heme [(L4Me4)Fe(III)]+3 complex that mimics the reactivity of intradiol dioxygenases, and a heme [T(o-Cl)PPFe] complex catalyzing the stepwise oxidation of cyclohexane to adipic acid, were also studied. For the enzymes and the non-heme biomimetic complex the reaction was found to follow a mechanism that was previously suggested for extradiol and intradiol dioxygenases – ordered substrates binding and formation of peroxo species, which further undergoes homolytic O-O bond cleavage. Different reaction steps appear to be rate limiting in the particular cases: proton transfer from the substrate to the peroxide in Bf 2,3-HPCD, the formation of the peroxo bridge in HGD and the biomimetic complex, and notably, spin transition in MndD. The catalytic oxidation of cyclohexane to adipic acid in the presence of molecular oxygen as oxidant was studied, a reaction of great importance for the chemical industry. Reaction mechanism is suggested, involving several consecutive oxidative steps. The highest calculated enthalpy of activation is 17.8 kcal/mol for the second oxidative step.