Mistry, Dharmit (2014) Mechanistic studies of some chemical and biochemical reactions. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

Three aspects of chemical and biochemical reactions were investigated.

1. The relative reactivities of pyrophosphate (phosphorus(V)) and pyro-di-H-phosphonate (phosphorus(III)) and its derivatives have been analysed at various pHs. The hydrolysis rate of pyro-di-H-phosphonate (PP(III)) was found to be higher than pyrophosphate at all pHs. Using ITC and NMR, pyrophosphate showed metal-ion complexing abilities whereas pyro-di-H-phosphonate showed weak or no complexing to metal-ions, although the rate of hydrolysis at pH 7 slightly increased compared to the spontaneous hydrolysis of PP(III). The enzymatic hydrolysis of pyrophosphate, which is thought to occur via MgPP(V)2-, occurs efficiently and is close to being diffusion controlled.

Pyro-di-H-phosphonate on the other hand does not act as a substrate or as an inhibitor of pyrophosphatase.

2. Dichloromethane (DCM) is an alkylating agent for pyridine, producing methylene bis-pyridinium dication (MDP) upon refluxing the solution. The kinetics and mechanism of hydrolysis of methylene bis-pyridinium dication have been studied. Below pH 7 MDP is extremely stable and hydrolysis is first-order in hydroxide-ion. Above pH 9 an unusual intermediate is formed on hydrolysis which has a chromophore at 366 nm in water and its formation is second-order in hydroxide-ion. The carbon acidity of the central methylene group was also investigated kinetically using H/D exchange and the pKa was surprisingly high at 21.2 at 25oC (I = 1.0 M).

3. Isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) is a technique mainly used by biochemists to obtain a range of physical and thermodynamic properties of a reaction. Analysing the data can become difficult when investigating complex reactions involving more than one step, for instance metal-ions binding to an enzyme. In this work models have been developed to simulate sequential reactions. These were used to simulate experimental ITC data for metal-ions: Zn2+, Co2+ and Cd2+ complexing to the active sites of BcII, a metallo β-lactamase responsible for antibiotic resistance, providing additional information on the mechanism by which this enzyme acts to deactivate β-lactam antibiotics. The simulations suggest that BcII has two very similar binding affinities to metal-ions which are filled sequentially.

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