Biosynthetic inorganic chemistry

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Inorganic chemistry and biology can benefit greatly from each other. Although synthetic and physical inorganic chemistry have been greatly successful in clarifying the role of metal ions in biological systems, the time may now be right to utilize biological systems to advance coordination chemistry. One such example is the use of small, stable, easy-to-make, and well-characterized proteins as ligands to synthesize novel inorganic compounds. This biosynthetic inorganic chemistry is possible thanks to a number of developments in biology. This review summarizes the progress in the synthesis of close models of complex metalloproteins, followed by a description of recent advances in using the approach for making novel compounds that are unprecedented in either inorganic chemistry or biology. The focus is mainly on synthetic "tricks" learned from biology, as well as novel structures and insights obtained. The advantages and disadvantages of this biosynthetic approach are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5588-5601
Number of pages14
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number34
StatePublished - Sep 2 2006


  • Biocatalysis
  • Bioinorganic chemistry
  • Biomimetic synthesis
  • Protein design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry


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