Effect of metal ion and water coordination on the structure of a gas-phase amino acid

R. A. Jockusch, A. S. Lemoff, E. R. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

145 Scopus citations


The mode of metal ion and water binding to the amino acid valine is investigated using both theory and experiment. Computations indicate that without water, the structure of valine is nonzwitterionic. Both Li+ and Na+ are coordinated to the nitrogen and carbonyl oxygen (NO coordination), whereas K+ coordinates to both oxygens (OO coordination) of nonzwitterionic valine. The addition of a single water molecule does not significantly affect the relative energies calculated for the cationized valine clusters. Experimentally, the rates of water evaporation from clusters of Val·M+(H2O)1, M = Li, Na, and K, are measured using blackbody infrared radiative dissociation. The dissociation rate from the valine complex is compared to water evaporation rates from model complexes of known structure. These results indicate that the metal ion in the lithiated and the sodiated clusters is NO-coordinated to nonzwitterionic valine, while that in the potassiated cluster has OO coordination, in full agreement with theory. The zwitterionic vs nonzwitterionic character of valine in the potassiated cluster cannot be distinguished experimentally. Extensive modeling provides strong support for the validity of inferring structural information from the kinetic data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12255-12265
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number49
StatePublished - Dec 12 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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