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Chemistry. 2001 Mar 2;7(5):979-86.

Dendritic biomimicry: microenvironmental hydrogen-bonding effects on tryptophan fluorescence.

Author information

1
Department of Chemistry, University of York, Heslington, UK.

Abstract

Two series of dendritically modified tryptophan derivatives have been synthesised and their emission spectra measured in a range of different solvents. This paper presents the syntheses of these novel dendritic structures and discusses their emission spectra in terms of both solvent and dendritic effects. In the first series of dendrimers, the NH group of the indole ring is available for hydrogen bonding, whilst in the second series, the indole NH group has been converted to NMe. Direct comparison of the emission wavelengths of analogous NH and NMe derivatives indicates the importance of the Kamlet-Taft solvent beta3 parameter, which reflects the ability of the solvent to accept a hydrogen bond from the NH group, an effect not possible for the NMe series of dendrimers. For the NH dendrimers, the attachment of a dendritic shell to the tryptophan subunit leads to a red shift in emission wavelength. This dendritic effect only operates in non-hydrogen-bonding solvents. For the NMe dendrimers, however, the attachment of a dendritic shell has no effect on the emission spectra of the indole ring. This proves the importance of hydrogen bonding between the branched shell and the indole NH group in causing the dendritic effect. This is the first time a dendritic effect has been unambiguously assigned to individual hydrogen-bonding interactions and indicates that such intramolecular interactions are important in dendrimers, just as they are in proteins. Furthermore, this paper sheds light on the use of tryptophan residues as a probe of the microenvironment within proteins--in particular, it stresses the importance of hydrogen bonds formed by the indole NH group.

PMID:
11303878
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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