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Conformations of Antipyrines

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journal contribution
posted on 12.05.2011, 00:00 by Michael Roumanos, Miklos Kertesz
Reliable conformational energetics is essential in interpreting and predicting structures of molecular crystals. We provide a combined density functional theory (DFT)–structural database study, demonstrating that this combination can be used as a foundation for this purpose. A subtle problem of nitrogen pyramidalization is used as the example in antipyrines, a group of bioactive molecules. Nitrogen pyramidalization on the two adjacent sp3 nitrogens directly affects the orientation of the methyl and phenyl substituents, which tend toward opposite sides of the heteroaromatic ring, affecting crystal packing. Accordingly, the overwhelming majority of the structures of antipyrines in the Cambridge Structural Database (CSD) are either nearly planar or have substituents on the opposite sides of the ring. Recent powder X-ray structures by Lemmerer et al. identified propyphenazone, an antipyrine, to have two substituents on the same side in an apparently sterically crowded conformation. We show that the new structure, although counterintuitive, is not an outlier on the conformational map. A distribution of the conformations of all antipyrines listed in the CSD is in good agreement with the computed conformational map. We also examine the role of the hysteretic property of the phenyl torsion in propyphenazone and its indirect effects on its overall conformation.