Density-functional-theory calculational results on the reaction pathway for alkane hydroxylation by a compound I model of cytochrome P450 are discussed. Our calculations demonstrate that the transition state for the H-atom abstraction of ethane involves a linear (Fe)O···H···C array and that the resultant carbon radical is bound to the iron-hydroxo species. This comptational result is partly consistent with the oxygen rebound mechanism in that the direct H-atom abstraction by the iron-oxo species takes place in the initial stages of the reaction pathway. However, the iron-hydroxo species cannot be viewed as a stable reaction intermediate in view of the energy diagram. Our results may not be consistent with the model of a free radical species with a finite lifetime and barrier to displacement of the OH group from the iron center that is commonly assumed and typically stated for the oxygen rebound mechanism.
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