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Crystal Structure of the Hydrated Strontium Salt of Methotrexate:  Two Independent Molecules with Different Conformations§

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journal contribution
posted on 07.12.2000, 00:00 by Donald Mastropaolo, Arthur Camerman, Norman Camerman
The crystal and molecular structure of methotrexate has been determined by X-ray diffraction from a highly hydrated triclinic crystal form in which the asymmetric unit contains two independent methotrexate molecules with their glutamate carboxyl groups coordinated to two strontium ions. The two methotrexates exhibit differing conformations:  They are almost related to one another by a pseudocenter of symmetry. This places the C(9)−N(10) bond vectors on opposite sides of the planes of the pteridine rings. The 2,4-diaminopteridines form 2-fold symmetry-related hydrogen-bonded dimers as well as hydrogen bonds to benzoyl carbonyl oxygens and lattice water molecules. This structure provides experimental proof of the existence of pteridine conformers through rotation about the C(6)−C(9) bond. Comparison of these conformers with other free and enzyme-bound methotrexate conformations shows them all to be different and illustrates the ability of the molecule to adapt to its chemical environment. The results from this crystal structure determination are experimental proof that methotrexate has not one preferred molecular conformation but may freely rotate about several bonds. They also suggest that the dihydrofolate reductase-bound methotrexate conformation is greatly influenced by the specific binding site environment of the enzyme.