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J Am Chem Soc. 2002 Sep 25;124(38):11519-30.

Charged states of proteins. Reactions of doubly protonated alkyldiamines with NH(3): solvation or deprotonation. Extension of two proton cases to multiply protonated globular proteins observed in the gas phase.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2G2.


The apparent gas-phase basicities (GB(app)'s) of basic sites in multiply protonated molecules, such as proteins, can be approximately predicted. An approach used by Williams and co-workers was to develop an equation for a diprotonated system, NH(3)(CH(2))(7)NH(3)(2+), and then extend it with a summation of pairwise interactions to multiply protonated systems. Experimental determinations of the rates of deprotonation of NH(3)(CH(2))(7)NH(3)(2+) by a variety of bases B, in the present work, showed that GB(app) = GB(NH(3)) = 196 kcal/mol. This result is supported also by determinations of the equilibria: NH(3)(CH(2))(p)NH(3)(2+) + NH(3) = NH(3)(CH(2))(p)NH(3) x NH(3)(2+), for p = 7, 8, 10, 12. The described experimental GB(app) is 14 kcal/mol higher than the value predicted by the equation used by Williams and co-workers but in agreement with an ab initio result by Gronert. Equations based on electrostatics are developed for the two proton and multiproton systems which allow the evaluation of GB(app) of the basic sites on proteins. These are applied for the evaluation of GB(app) of the basic sites and of N(SB), the maximum number of protons that the nondenatured proteins, carbonic anhydrase (CAII), cytochrome c (CYC), and pepsin, can hold. The N(SB) values are compared with the observed charges, Z(obs)'s, when the nondenatured proteins are produced by electrospray and found in agreement with the proposal by de la Mora that Z(obs) is determined by the number of charges provided by the droplet that contains the protein, according to the charge residue model (CRM). The GB(app) values of proteins have many other applications. They can be compared with experimental measurements and are also needed for the understanding of the thermal denaturing of charged proteins and the thermal dissociation of charged protein complexes.

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