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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1991 Nov;35(11):2238-45.

Crystal structure and molecular structure of mefloquine methylsulfonate monohydrate: implications for a malaria receptor.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington, DC 20307-5100.


The crystal structure of (+/-)-mefloquine methylsulfonate monohydrate was determined by X-ray diffraction and was compared with the crystal structures of mefloquine hydrochloride and mefloquine free base. The conformation of mefloquine was essentially the same in all three crystalline environments and was not dependent on whether mefloquine was a salt or a free base. In mefloquine methylsulfonate monohydrate, the angle between the average plane of the quinoline ring and the average plane of the piperidine ring was 76.9 degrees. The intramolecular aliphatic N-13...O-1 distance was 2.730 +/- 0.008 A (1 A = 0.1 nm), which is close to the aliphatic N...O distance found in the antimalarial cinchona alkaloids. The hydroxyl group formed a hydrogen bond with the water molecule, and the amine group formed hydrogen bonds with two different methylsulfonate ions. The crystallographic parameters for (+/-)-mefloquine methylsulfonate monohydrate were as follows: C17H17F6N2O(+).CH3SO3(-).H2O; Mr = 492.4; symmetry of unit cell, monoclinic; space group, P2(1)/a; parameters of unit cell, a was 8.678 +/- 0.001 A, b was 28.330 +/- 0.003 A, c was 8.804 +/- 0.001 A, beta was 97.50 +/- 0.01 degrees; the volume of the unit cell was 2145.9 A3; the number of molecules per unit cell was 4; the calculated density was 1.52 g cm(-3); the source of radiation was Cu K alpha (lambda = 1.54178 A); mu (absorption coefficient) was 20.46 cm(-1); F(000) (sum of atomic scattering factors at zero scattering angle) was 1,016; room temperature was used; and the final R (residual index) was 6.58% for 1,740 reflections with magnitude of Fo greater than 3 sigma (F). Since the mechanism of antimalarial action and the mechanism of mefloquine resistance may involve hydrogen bond formation between mefloquine and a cellular effector or transport proteins, the common conformation of mefloquine found in each crystalline environment may define the orientation in which mefloquine forms these potentially critical hydrogen bonds with cellular constituents.

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