School of Chemistry - Research Publications

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    The structure and activity of the glutathione reductase from Streptococcus pneumoniae
    Sikanyika, M ; Aragao, D ; McDevitt, CA ; Maher, MJ (INT UNION CRYSTALLOGRAPHY, 2019-01)
    The glutathione reductase (GR) from Streptococcus pneumoniae is a flavoenzyme that catalyzes the reduction of oxidized glutathione (GSSG) to its reduced form (GSH) in the cytoplasm of this bacterium. The maintenance of an intracellular pool of GSH is critical for the detoxification of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species and for intracellular metal tolerance to ions such as zinc. Here, S. pneumoniae GR (SpGR) was overexpressed and purified and its crystal structure determined at 2.56 Å resolution. SpGR shows overall structural similarity to other characterized GRs, with a dimeric structure that includes an antiparallel β-sheet at the dimer interface. This observation, in conjunction with comparisons with the interface structures of other GR enzymes, allows the classification of these enzymes into three classes. Analyses of the kinetic properties of SpGR revealed a significantly higher value for Km(GSSG) (231.2 ± 24.7 µM) in comparison to other characterized GR enzymes.
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    Element 25-Manganese
    Boskovic, C (CSIRO Publishing, 2019)
    This essay in a series being published in the Australian Journal of Chemistry concerns this author’s favourite element, manganese. I was introduced to the chemistry of manganese when undertaking postdoctoral work with George Christou at Indiana University. My first reaction involved the disproportionation of manganese(VII) and manganese(II) to give a trinuclear manganese( III) complex. This one reaction encompasses several of the most appealing aspects of inorganic chemistry – the redox chemistry of metals that exist in multiple oxidation states, the change in a metal ion’s properties upon changing the number of valence electrons, the beautifully symmetric structures of polynuclear metal complexes and, of course, the colours!
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    DFT Prediction and Experimental Investigation of Valence Tautomerism in Cobalt-Dioxolene Complexes
    Gransbury, GK ; Boulon, M-E ; Petrie, S ; Gable, RW ; Mulder, RJ ; Sorace, L ; Stranger, R ; Boskovic, C (AMER CHEMICAL SOC, 2019-04-01)
    The family of complexes of general formula [Co(Me ntpa)(Xdiox)]+ (tpa = tris(2-pyridylmethyl)amine, n = 0-3 corresponds to successive methylation of the 6-position of the pyridine rings; X = Br4, Cl4, H4, 3,5-Me2, 3,5- tBu2; diox = dioxolene) was investigated by density functional theory (DFT) calculations to predict the likelihood of valence tautomerism (VT). The OPBE functional with relativistic and solvent corrections allowed accurate reproduction of trends in spin-state energetics, affording the prediction of VT in complex [Co(Me3tpa)(Br4diox)]+ (1+). One-electron oxidation of neutral precursor [CoII(Me3tpa)(Br4cat)] (1) enabled isolation of target compounds 1(PF6) and 1(BPh4). Solution variable-temperature UV-vis absorption and Evans method magnetic susceptibility data confirm DFT predictions that 1+ exists in a temperature-dependent valence tautomeric equilibrium between low-spin Co(III)-catecholate and high-spin Co(II)-semiquinonate forms. The solution VT transition temperature of 1+ is solvent-tunable with critical temperatures in the range of 291-359 K for the solvents measured. Solid-state magnetic susceptibility measurements of 1(PF6) and 1(BPh4) reveal the onset of VT transitions above room temperature.
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    Valence tautomerism and spin crossover in pyridinophane-cobalt-dioxolene complexes: an experimental and computational study
    Tezgerevska, T ; Rousset, E ; Gable, RW ; Jameson, GNL ; Carolina Sanudo, E ; Starikova, A ; Boskovic, C (ROYAL SOC CHEMISTRY, 2019-08-21)
    Compounds [Co(L-N4R2)(dbdiox)](BPh4) (L-N4R2 = N,N'-di-alkyl-2,11-diaza[3.3]-(2,6)pyridinophane, R = iPr (1a), Et (2a); dbdiox = 3,5-di-tert-butyldioxolene) and [M(L-N4iPr2)(dbdiox)](BPh4) (M = Mn (3a), Fe (4a)) have been synthesized and investigated with a view to possible valence tautomeric (VT) or spin crossover (SCO) interconversions. Single crystal X-ray diffraction data for all compounds at 100 or 130 K indicate trivalent metal cations and di-tert-butylcatecholate (dbcat2-) dioxolene ligands. Variable temperature magnetic susceptibility data for all species between 2 and 340 K are consistent with these redox states, with low spin configurations for the cobalt(iii) ions and high spin for the manganese(iii) and iron(iii) ions. Above 340 K, compound 1a exhibits an increase in magnetic susceptibility, suggesting the onset of a VT interconversion from low spin Co(iii)-dbcat to high spin Co(ii)-dbsq (dbsq- = di-tert-butylsemiquinonate) that is incomplete up to 400 K. In solution, variable temperature electronic absorption spectra and Evans NMR method magnetic susceptibility data indicate reversible VT interconversions for 1a in several solvents, with the transition temperature varying with solvent. Variable temperature electronic absorption spectra are temperature-invariant for 3a and 4a, while spectra for 2a in 1,2-dichloroethane suggest the onset of a VT transition at the highest temperatures measured. Density functional theory calculations on all four compounds and literature analogues provide key insights into the relative energies of the different electromeric forms and the possibilities for VT versus SCO interconversions in this family of compounds.
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    Tetraoxolene-bridged rare-earth complexes: a radical-bridged dinuclear Dy single-molecule magnet
    Reed, WR ; Dunstan, MA ; Gable, RW ; Phonsri, W ; Murray, KS ; Mole, RA ; Boskovic, C (ROYAL SOC CHEMISTRY, 2019-11-07)
    Two families of neutral tetraoxolene-bridged dinuclear rare earth complexes of general formula [((HBpz3)2RE)2(μ-tetraoxolene)] (RE = Y and Dy; HBpz3- = hydrotris(pyrazolyl)borate; tetraoxolene = fluoranilate (fa2-; 1-RE) or bromanilate (ba2-; 2-RE)) have been synthesised and characterised. In each case, the bridging tetraoxolene ligand is in the diamagnetic dianionic form and each rare earth metal centre has two HBpz3- ligands completing the coordination. Electrochemical studies on the soluble 2-RE family reveal a tetraoxolene-based reversible one-electron reduction. Bulk chemical reduction with cobaltocene affords the cobaltocenium (CoCp+) salt of the 1e-reduced analogue: [CoCp][((HBpz3)2RE)2(μ-ba˙)] (3-RE) that incorporates a radical trianionic form of the bromanilate bridging ligand. Alternating current (ac) magnetic susceptibility studies of 2-Dy reveal slow magnetic relaxation only in the presence of an applied magnetic field, but reduction to radical-bridged 3-Dy affords frequency-dependent peaks in the out-of-phase ac susceptibility in zero applied field. Exchange coupling between the Dy(iii) ions and the radical bridging ligand thus reduces zero-field magnetisation quantum tunnelling and confers single-molecule magnet status on the complex. Comprehensive analysis of the magnetic relaxation data indicates that a combination of Orbach, Raman and direct relaxation processes are required to fit the data for both dysprosium bromanilate complexes.
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    Protic additives determine the pathway of CdSe nanocrystal growth.
    Kirkwood, N ; Boldt, K (Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), 2018-10-04)
    The formation of semiconductor nanocrystals by hot-injection synthesis follows complex reaction mechanisms that are not yet fully understood. In particular the occurrence of intermediate species indicated by sharp, stationary spectral lines poses an important deviation from the predictions of classical nucleation theory. We show that trace amounts of water and other protic additives strongly impact the structure of these reaction intermediates, forming either coordination polymers under dry conditions or small clusters in the presence of moisture. These intermediates bind monomer during the initial nucleation phase. The structure of the intermediate determines the monomer release rate, either continuously or in a rapid dissolution event, and hence controls the reaction kinetics. From this we propose a kinetic model that allows us to predict secondary nucleation events. By directing the type of intermediate formed, protic additives provide a lever to manipulate this equilibrium and control nanocrystal synthesis in a rational fashion.
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    A polymer inclusion membrane composed of the binary carrier PC-88A and Versatic 10 for the selective separation and recovery of Sc
    Sharaf, M ; Yoshida, W ; Kubota, F ; Kolev, SD ; Goto, M (ROYAL SOC CHEMISTRY, 2018)
    This study reports on the selective separation of scandium (Sc) from other rare earth metals (REMs) using a polymer inclusion membrane (PIM). The PIM prepared with PC-88A (2-ethylhexyl hydrogen-2-ethylhexylphosphonate) alone as the carrier showed high extractability but the poor back-extraction of the extracted Sc3+ ions did not allow the transport of these ions to the receiving solution of a membrane transport system. To overcome this problem, a novel approach was introduced using a mixture of carriers that allowed Sc3+ transport into the receiving solution. A cellulose triacetate (CTA) based PIM containing both PC-88A and Versatic 10 (decanoic acid) as carriers and dioctyl phthalate (DOP) as a plasticizer was prepared for the selective separation of Sc3+ from other REM ions in nitrate media. The membrane composition was optimized and the effect of operational parameters such as pH of the feed solution and composition of the receiving solution was explored. The flux at the membrane/feed solution interface was found to depend significantly on the carrier concentration in the PIM, pH of the feed solution and the receiving solution acidity. The newly developed PIM allowed quantitative and selective transport of Sc3+ thus demonstrating its suitability for the selective recovery of this metal.
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    Differential composition of DHA and very-long-chain PUFAs in rod and cone photoreceptors
    Agbaga, M-P ; Merriman, DK ; Brush, RS ; Lydic, TA ; Conley, SM ; Naash, MI ; Jackson, S ; Woods, AS ; Reid, GE ; Busik, JV ; Anderson, RE (ELSEVIER, 2018-09)
    Long-chain PUFAs (LC-PUFAs; C20-C22; e.g., DHA and arachidonic acid) are highly enriched in vertebrate retina, where they are elongated to very-long-chain PUFAs (VLC-PUFAs; C 28) by the elongation of very-long-chain fatty acids-4 (ELOVL4) enzyme. These fatty acids play essential roles in modulating neuronal function and health. The relevance of different lipid requirements in rods and cones to disease processes, such as age-related macular degeneration, however, remains unclear. To better understand the role of LC-PUFAs and VLC-PUFAs in the retina, we investigated the lipid compositions of whole retinas or photoreceptor outer segment (OS) membranes in rodents with rod- or cone-dominant retinas. We analyzed fatty acid methyl esters and the molecular species of glycerophospholipids (phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine, and phosphatidylserine) by GC-MS/GC-flame ionization detection and ESI-MS/MS, respectively. We found that whole retinas and OS membranes in rod-dominant animals compared with cone-dominant animals had higher amounts of LC-PUFAs and VLC-PUFAs. Compared with those of rod-dominant animals, retinas and OS membranes from cone-dominant animals also had about 2-fold lower levels of di-DHA (22:6/22:6) molecular species of glycerophospholipids. Because PUFAs are necessary for optimal G protein-coupled receptor signaling in rods, these findings suggest that cones may not have the same lipid requirements as rods.
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    1,2-Addition versus homoconjugate addition reactions of indoles and electron-rich arenes to α-cyclopropyl N-acyliminium ions: synthetic and computational studies
    Ryder, GM ; Wille, U ; Willis, AC ; Pyne, SG (ROYAL SOC CHEMISTRY, 2019-08-07)
    An investigation of the reactivity of α-cyclopropyl N-acyliminium ions towards indoles has resulted in the unprecedented synthesis of 5-cyclopropyl-5-(3-indoyl)pyrrolidin-2-ones via 1,2-addition reactions and, in the case of highly electron deficient indoles and electron rich arenes, spiroheterocycles via sequential homoconjugate and 1,2-addition reactions with often high diastereoselective control at the C-5 quaternary stereocentres. Computational studies provided support for the proposed mechanisms and stereochemical outcome of these reactions, clearly showing that the 1,2-addition pathway is kinetically controlled. In reactions where the 1,2-adduct is destabilised, for example when the arene ring is less nucleophilic, the 1,2-addition is reversible and the thermodynamically preferred homoconjugate addition and subsequent rearrangement and cyclisation reactions become the major pathway.
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    Direct Assembly of Large Area Nanoparticle Arrays
    Zhang, H ; Cadusch, J ; Kinnear, C ; James, T ; Roberts, A ; Mulvaney, P (AMER CHEMICAL SOC, 2018-08)
    A major goal of nanotechnology is the assembly of nanoscale building blocks into functional optical, electrical, or chemical devices. Many of these applications depend on an ability to optically or electrically address single nanoparticles. However, positioning large numbers of single nanocrystals with nanometer precision on a substrate for integration into solid-state devices remains a fundamental roadblock. Here, we report fast, scalable assembly of thousands of single nanoparticles using electrophoretic deposition. We demonstrate that gold nanospheres down to 30 nm in size and gold nanorods <100 nm in length can be assembled into predefined patterns on transparent conductive substrates within a few seconds. We find that rod orientation can be preserved during deposition. As proof of high fidelity scale-up, we have created centimeter scale patterns comprising more than 1 million gold nanorods.