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Guo N.,Institutute of Chemical Defence | Zhong J.-Y.,Institutute of Chemical Defence | Chen S.-L.,Beijing Institute of Technology | Liu J.-Q.,Institutute of Chemical Defence | And 2 more authors.
Chemical Physics | Year: 2015

A complex (ZnL1) of 2,2-(2-hydroxy-5-methyl-1,3-phenylene)bis(methylene)bis ((pyridin-2-ylmethyl)azanediyl)diethanol (this ligand is named by L1) functionalized with two Zn(II) centers, has been previously suggested to be a structural model for binuclear zinc phosphotriesterases (PTEs) and proven to be an effective catalyst for the hydrolysis of bis(2,4-dinitrophenyl)phosphate (BDNPP). In this paper, ZnL1 was further found to have a high catalytic activity for the hydrolysis of isopropyl methylphosphonofluoridate (sarin, GB) with kcat/Km = 0.051 s-1 M-1 at 303 K, examined by on-site NMR analysis. The subsequent density functional theory (DFT) calculations indicate that a terminal alkoxide (Ot) bound by Zn may work as a general base to activate a water molecule and then a hydroxide derived from the latter performs the initial nucleophilic attack on the phosphor in GB. Inspired by this mechanism, a new biomimetic catalyst was designed and synthesized by replacing the two pyridines of ZnL1 by hydroxyls, i.e. a complex of two Zn(II) with 2,6-bis((bis(2-hydroxyethyl)amino)methyl)-4-methylphenol (the ligand is named by L2). This replacement was expected to increase the Ot basicity, thereby facilitating the nucleophilic attack and the overall hydrolysis of GB. It was shown that ZnL2 had a very high catalytic efficiency for the hydrolysis of GB, with kcat/Km = 0.11 s-1 M-1 at 303 K and about 90% conversion in 30 min. The following DFT calculations proposed a detailed reaction mechanism of ZnL2 and gave an energy barrier (5.8 kcal M-1) very close to the experimental activation energy (5.6 kcal M-1). In this study, a mechanism-inspired design strategy has been demonstrated to be successful in developing biomimetic catalyst. © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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