Copper-sulfur complexes supported by N-donor ligands: Towards models of the CuZ site in nitrous oxide reductase

John T. York, Itsik Bar-Nahum, William B. Tolman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The distinctive structure of the [(his)7Cu4(μ-S)]n+ cluster in the "CuZ" active site of nitrous oxide reductase and the intriguing mechanistic hypotheses for its catalytic reactivity provide inspiration for synthetic model studies aimed at characterizing relevant copper-sulfur compounds and obtaining fundamental insights into structure and bonding. In this brief review, we summarize such studies that have focused on the synthesis and characterization of a range of copper-sulfur complexes supported by N-donor ligands. Compounds with variable nuclearities and sulfur redox levels have been isolated, with the nature of the species obtained being dependent on the supporting ligand, sulfur source, and the reaction conditions. Spectroscopic data and theoretical calculations, often performed with a view toward drawing comparisons to oxygen analogs, have provided insight into the nature of the copper-sulfur bonding interactions in the complexes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)885-893
Number of pages9
JournalInorganica Chimica Acta
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 3 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the NIH (GM47365) for financial support for the research performed in our laboratory.


  • Copper
  • Disulfide
  • Nitrous oxide
  • Sulfur


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