Science, Tech, Math › Science Labile Complex Definition Chemistry Glossary Definition of Labile Complex Share Flipboard Email Print Carbon fullerenes may be labile, only holding a spherical conformation for a short time. KATERYNA KON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Getty Images Science Chemistry Chemical Laws Basics Molecules Periodic Table Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated September 04, 2019 In chemistry, a labile complex is a complex ion which quickly reaches equilibrium with the ligands in a surrounding solution. It is a transient chemical species. The molecule may assume a higher energy conformation for a time before returning to a lower energy state. An example is C25 fullerene, which may assume a spherical form for a short time. Another example is the labilization of CO ligands in the cis position in transition metal complexes. In biochemistry, lability is a kinetic concept involving metalloproteins. In biological systems, metalloproteins may be rapidly synthesized and degraded. There are also heat-labile proteins, which change or are denatured at high temperature. In biology, labile cells are those that continually divide and remain in the cell cycle. Cells of the epithelium of the cornea are examples of labile cells.