Mentor: Professor Sharon Burgmayer
Figure 1: Structure of MoCo
Molybdenum (Mo) is a metallic trace element that is important for the proper functioning of most living organisms. A lack of molybdenum enzymes in humans can lead to several health problems. Molybdopterin, a dithiolene organic complex, couples with molybdenum to form the Molybdenum Cofactor (MoCo). Analyses of the formation of molybdopterin through the synthesis of models, improves the possibility of understanding how the cofactor works.
The Burgmayer Lab’s approach to the syntheses of MoCo models consists of two stages. The first stage constitutes the formation of one of the pterins; acetyl, phenyl, and difluoropheynyl, ethynyl pivulated pterins, fondly referred to as AEP, PEPP, and diFPEPP, respectively, using 2-pivaloyl-6-chloropterin (11). The pterin is then reacted with Mo to generate one of three models of MoCo. The oxidation states and other properties of Mo in these models can then be studied.
During my summer research, I will begin the synthesis of molybdopterin by completing the first seven steps of an eight-step process repeatedly, so as to stockpile (11) for conversion into AEP, PEPP or diFPEPP. I will also synthesize these pterins which will be used by my research colleagues, Rebecca Petit and Amy Rothkopf to synthesize the MoCo models.
Figure 2: Reaction 6: Pivalation