Structures of lithiated lysine and structural analogues in the gas phase: Effects of water and proton affinity on zwitterionic stability

Andrew S. Lemoff, Matthew F. Bush, Jeremy T. O'Brien, Evan R. Williams

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The structures of lithiated lysine, ornithine, and related molecules, both with and without a water molecule, are investigated using both density functional theory and blackbody infrared radiative dissociation experiments. The lowest-energy structure of lithiated lysine without a water molecule is nonzwitterionic; the metal ion interacts with both nitrogen atoms and the carbonyl oxygen. Structures in which lysine is zwitterionic are higher in energy by more than 29 kJ/mol. In contrast, the singly hydrated clusters with the zwitterionic and nonzwitterionic forms of lysine are more similar in energy, with the nonzwitterionic form more stable by only ∼7 kJ/mol. Thus, a single water molecule can substantially stabilize the zwitterionic form of an amino acid. Analogous molecules that have methyl groups attached to either the N-terminus (NMeLys) or the side-chain amine (Lys(Me)) have proton affinities greater than that of lysine. In the lithiated clusters with a water molecule attached, the zwitterionic forms of NMeLys and Lys(Me) are calculated to be ∼4 and ∼11 kJ/mol more stable than the nonzwitterionic forms, respectively. Calculations of the potential-energy pathway for interconversion, between the different forms of lysine in the lithiated complex indicate multiple stable intermediates with an overall barrier height of ∼83 kJ/mol between the lowest-energy nonzwitterionic form and the most accessible zwitterionic form. Experimentally determined binding energies of water are similar for all these complexes and range from 57 to 64 kJ/mol. These results suggest that loss of a water molecule from the lysine complexes is both energetically and entropically favored compared to interconversion between the nonzwitterionic and zwitterionic structures. Comparisons to calculated binding energies of water to the various structures show that the experimental results are most consistent with the nonzwitterionic forms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8433-8442
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number27
StatePublished - Jul 13 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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