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J Am Chem Soc. 2004 Nov 10;126(44):14600-10.

Cation-pi interactions: structures and energetics of complexation of Na+ and K+ with the aromatic amino acids, phenylalanine, tyrosine, and tryptophan.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan 48202, USA.


Threshold collision-induced dissociation of M(+)(AAA) with Xe is studied using guided ion beam tandem mass spectrometry. M(+) include the alkali metal ions Na(+) and K(+). The three aromatic amino acids are examined, AAA = phenylalanine, tyrosine, or tryptophan. In all cases, endothermic loss of the intact aromatic amino acid is the dominant reaction pathway. The threshold regions of the cross sections are interpreted to extract 0 and 298 K bond dissociation energies for the M(+)-AAA complexes after accounting for the effects of multiple ion-neutral collisions, internal energy of the reactant ions, and dissociation lifetimes. Density functional theory calculations at the B3LYP/6-31G level of theory are used to determine the structures of the neutral aromatic amino acids and their complexes to Na(+) and K(+) and to provide molecular constants required for the thermochemical analysis of the experimental data. Theoretical bond dissociation energies are determined from single-point energy calculations at the B3LYP/6-311++G(3df,3pd) level using the B3LYP/6-31G geometries. Good agreement between theory and experiment is found for all systems. The present results are compared to earlier studies of these systems performed via kinetic and equilibrium methods. The present results are also compared to the analogous Na(+) and K(+) complexes to glycine, benzene, phenol, and indole to elucidate the relative contributions that each of the functional components of these aromatic amino acids make to the overall binding in these complexes.

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