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This is the question verbatim:

Details of two synthetic models of ferritin are presented below:

System 1

$$\begin{multline}\ce{Fe(OAc)2 + LiOMe ->T[in presence of $\ce{O2}$][in MeOH]\\ Fe12(OAc)3(\mu-OAc)3(MeOH)4(\mu-OMe)8(\mu_3-OMe)10(\mu_6-O)2}\end{multline}$$

System 2

$$\begin{multline}\ce{Fe(O3SCF3)2 + L ->T[in MeOH]\\ [Fe6(OMe)4(\mu-OMe)8(\mu_4-O)2L2][O3SCF3]2}\quad (\ce{L~=~N(CH2CH2NH2)3})\end{multline}$$

How valid are each of these systems as a model of ferritin? Consider both structural and functional features.

I have no idea how to start with this. I wasn't taught what the $\mu$ notation means nor about the structures of ferritin models. I'm guessing $\mu$ denotes a bridging ligand?

I know that oxygen binds very well to Fe, hence why it needs to be carefully controlled around it. The chelating nature of L can't be ignored.

Is the symmetry of the structures important? I know that natural ferritin has 3 and 4-fold symmetry.

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  • $\begingroup$ $\mu_6$ means that it bridges six iron atoms. $\endgroup$ – orthocresol Jan 10 '16 at 9:46
  • $\begingroup$ Could you provide a link to the courseware, please? A quick look at ferritin structure made me wonder what the authors believe to be a model for ferritin. $\endgroup$ – permeakra Jan 10 '16 at 10:49
  • $\begingroup$ It's not publicly available and has nothing on synthetic ferritin models. It only talks about natural ferritin. $\endgroup$ – gsurfer04 Jan 10 '16 at 14:16

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