In this study, we examine the coupling of a complex ring vibration to solvent through hydrogen-bonding interactions. We compare phenylalanine, tyrosine, L-dopa, dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine, and hydroxyl-DL-dopa, a group of physiologically important small molecules that vary by single differences in H-bonding substitution. By examination of the temperature dependence of infrared absorptions of these molecules, we show that complex, many-atom vibrations can be coupled to solvent through hydrogen bonds and that the extent of that coupling is dependent on the degree of both on- and off-ring H-bonding substitution. The coupling is seen as a temperature-dependent frequency shift in infrared spectra, but the determination of the physical origin of that shift is based on additional data from temperature-dependent optical experiments and ab initio calculations. The optical experiments show that these small molecules are most sensitive to their immediate H-bonding environment rather than to bulk solvent properties. Ab initio calculations demonstrate H-bond-mediated vibrational coupling for the system of interest and also show that the overall small molecule solvent dependence is determined by a complex interplay of specific interactions and bulk solvation characteristics. Our findings indicate that a full understanding of biomolecule vibrational properties must include consideration of explicit hydrogen-bonding interactions with the surrounding microenvironment.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry