Studies of nearest-neighbor interactions between amino acids in gas-phase protonated peptides

Jiangyue Wu, Eric Gard, Jennifer Bregar, M. Kirk Green, Carlito B Lebrilla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The probe of intramolecular interactions in gas-phase biomolecules using the combination of proton transfer reactions, hydrogen/deuterium exchange reactions, and molecular orbital calculations is illustrated by exploring the nearest-neighbor interactions in protonated peptides. The interactions, specifically -NH2⋯H+⋯O=C and C=O⋯H+⋯O=C, are investigated with peptides that model them. The compounds that include β-Ala, β-Ala-Gly, and Gly-β-Ala, Ala-Gly and Gly-Ala are used to evaluate the structural and electronic factors that are involved in the protonation of the terminal arnine. Similarly, N-acetylglycine and N-acetylglycine amide are used to evaluate carbonyl group interactions in the peptide backbone. The β-alanine residue on the terminal amine is found to increase the gas-phase basicity and decrease the H/D exchange reactivity of the protonated compound relative to analogous compounds containing only α-amino acids. A β-alanine residue on the C-terminus produces compounds with similar gas-phase basicity and H/D exchange behavior as those with α-amino acids. The gas-phase basicity and H/D exchange behavior of the acetylglycines point to stronger intramolecular hydrogen bonding in the amide derivative than in the acid. An amide carbonyl has a greater intrinsic basicity than a carboxylic carbonyl. An analysis proposed by Meot-Ner is used to separate electronic effects from structural effects in the two types of protonation sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9900-9905
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number39
StatePublished - Oct 4 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)


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