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How Hydrogen Bonding Amplifies Isomeric Differences in Pyridones toward Strong Changes in Acidity and Tautomerism

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journal contribution
posted on 10.02.2021, 01:13 by Robby Büchner, Mattis Fondell, Eric J. Mascarenhas, Annette Pietzsch, Vinícius Vaz da Cruz, Alexander Föhlisch
Steric hindrance of hydration and hydrogen bond enhancement by localized charges have been identified as key factors for the massive chemical differences between the hydroxypyridine/pyridone isomers in aqueous solution. While all isomers occur mainly in the hydroxypyridine form in the gas phase, they differ by more than 3 orders of magnitude both in their acidity and tautomeric equilibrium constants upon hydration. By monitoring the electronic and solvation structures as a function of the protonation state and the O substitution position on the pyridine ring, the amplification of the isomeric differences in aqueous solution has been investigated. Near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure (NEXAFS) measurements at the N K-edge served as the probe of the chemical state. The combination of molecular dynamics simulations, complete active space self-consistent field (CASSCF), and time-dependent density functional theory (TD-DFT) spectral calculations contributes to unraveling the principles of tautomerism and acidity in multiple biochemical systems based on tautomerism.