Table of Contents
Journal of Amino Acids
Volume 2012, Article ID 565404, 11 pages
Review Article

On the Hydration State of Amino Acids and Their Derivatives at Different Ionization States: A Comparative Multinuclear NMR and Crystallographic Investigation

Section of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Ioannina, 45110 Ioannina, Greece

Received 15 December 2011; Accepted 8 March 2012

Academic Editor: Heather M. Wallace

Copyright © 2012 Charalampos G. Pappas et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


2D, 13C, 14N, and 17O NMR and crystallographic data from the literature were critically evaluated in order to provide a coherent hydration model of amino acids and selected derivatives at different ionization states. 17O shielding variations, longitudinal relaxation times (T1) of 2D and 13C and line widths (Δν1/2) of 14N and 17O, may be interpreted with the hypothesis that the cationic form of amino acids is more hydrated by 1 to 3 molecules of water than the zwitterionic form. Similar behaviour was also observed for N-acetylated derivatives of amino acids. An exhaustive search in crystal structure databases demonstrates the importance of six-membered hydrogen-bonded conjugated rings of both oxygens of the α-carboxylate group with a molecule of water in the vicinity. This type of hydrogen bond mode is absent in the case of the carboxylic groups. Moreover, a considerable number of structures was identified with the propensity to form intramolecular hydrogen bond both in the carboxylic acid (NHO=C) and in the carboxylate ( N H O ) ionization state. In the presence of bound molecules of water this interaction is significantly reduced in the case of the carboxylate group whereas it is statistically negligible in the carboxylic group.