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Acta Crystallogr B. 2010 Aug;66(Pt 4):482-92. doi: 10.1107/S0108768110023025. Epub 2010 Jul 12.

An experimental charge density of HEPES.

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Department of Chemistry, Warsaw University, Pasteura 1, 02-093 Warszawa, Poland.


We report the experimental charge density of HEPES [4-(2-hydroxyethyl)-1-piperazineethanesulfonic acid], which is a common buffering agent. The structure was refined using the Hansen-Coppens formalism. The ability of the HEPES molecule to form stable intermolecular interactions and intermolecular hydrogen bonds in the crystal structure is discussed in terms of its buffering properties. The protonation mode observed in the crystal structure is different from that expected in solution, suggesting that additional factors must be taken into consideration in order to explain the solution properties of the compound. As ordered HEPES molecules are found in the active sites of proteins in several protein crystal structures, our results will allow for quantitative analysis of the electrostatic potential of the interacting surfaces of those proteins.

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