The effect of S-acetylation in MN2S2 complexes on metal exchange reactivity was examined in a series of MN2S2O2 complexes. While clean exchange processes do not occur for the MN2S2 derivatives where formation of S-bridged aggregates predominate, acetylation permits the metal exchange with hierarchy that follows the Irving-Williams series of stability for first row transition metals: Fe2+ < Co2+ < Ni2+ < Cu2+ > Zn2+. The rate determining step consistent with kinetic parameters depends on both M and M′, supporting a mechanism of exchange that involves ligand unwrapping/rewrapping process as earlier defined by Margerum et al. for M(EDTA) systems. The enhanced metal exchange deriving from S-acetylation is of significance to probes and detection of cysteine-S metallo-proteins and metallo-enzyme active sites, and highlights a new role for S-acetylation.
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