Stability of the Cu(II)-S Bond in Mercapto Amino Acid Complexes of [2,2',2''-Tris(dimethylamino)triethylamine]copper(II) and [Tris (2-pyridylmethyl) amine]copper(II

Haesun Kang Baek, Robin L. Cooper, Robert A. Holwerda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Comparative kinetic studies (pH 5.6-11.1) are reported for the oxidations of cysteine (cys-SH), cysteine methyl ester (cme-SH), penicillamine (pen-SH), and glutathione (glu-SH) coordinated to [2,2',2''-tris(dimethylamino)triethylamine]copper(II) (Cu-(Me6tren)2+) and [tris(2-pyridylmethyl)amine]copper(II) (Cu(tmpa)2+). Relative stabilizations of (tmpa)CuII-SR species by factors of ca. 104and 10 were found at low- and high-pH limits, respectively, suggesting that delocalization of thiolate sulfur negative charge over the π systems of aromatic nitrogen donor ligands contributes significantly to Cu(II)-S bond stability. Excluding the glutathione complexes, all of the Cu(tmpa)2+and Cu(Me6tren)2+adducts exhibit reactivity decreases from intermediate to high pH, where S,N chelation by the amino acids is favored. A mechanism involving reductive elimination of sulfur to give Cu(I) and a thiyl radical is supported by this and other results. Oxidation rate constants of S,N-bonded cysteine and its methyl ester are not greatly different in complexes with both (tmpa)CuIIand (Me6tren)CuII, but the reactivity of penicillamine is lower by more than 1 order of magnitude in both systems. This observation, coupled with unexpectedly slow ring closure to give (tmpa)CuII-S,N-pen, reflects geometric rearrangements in the first coordination sphere of copper required to accommodate the steric demands of the penicillamine β,β-dimethyl substituents. Redox decay rate constants of Cu(tmpa)2+adducts with S-cys, S-cme, and S-glu are remarkably small at low pH as well (<10~3s-1at 25 °C below pH 4) although S,O chelation does not contribute appreciably to the activation barrier.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1077-1081
Number of pages5
JournalInorganic Chemistry
Issue number7
StatePublished - Mar 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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