Molecular recognition and metal ion template synthesis

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Science  26 May 1989:
Vol. 244, Issue 4907, pp. 938-943
DOI: 10.1126/science.2658057


Methods for the design and synthesis of ligands intended to be specific for a metal ion have been a recent chemical development. This article describes how this process can be inverted so that the specifics of the coordination environment around the metal ion can be used as a template in large-scale ligand synthesis. The synthesis of macrobicyclic ligands for ferric ion has been accomplished by using active esters of catechol ligands in which catecholate coordination to iron is a prelude to the organic chemical reactions that link the coordination subunits together into one ligand system surrounding a central metal ion coordination site. The lanthanide(III) ions, which are among the most labile metal ions known, have coordination numbers of 8 or higher, and thus their encapsulation into a macrobicyclic structure is a challenging problem. Lanthanide amine complexes have been used as metal templates in the synthesis of such macrobicyclic lanthanide complexes. There is evidence that such a complex is inert to exchange in aqueous solution.

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