A Competition between Relative Stability and Binding Energy in Caffeine Phenyl-Glucose Aggregates: Implications in Biological Mechanisms
Camiruaga Leza, Ander
Parra Santamaría, Maider
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International Journal of Molecular Sciences 24(5) : (2023) // Article ID 4390
Hydrogen bonds and stacking interactions are pivotal in biological mechanisms, although their proper characterisation within a molecular complex remains a difficult task. We used quantum mechanical calculations to characterise the complex between caffeine and phenyl-β-D-glucopyranoside, in which several functional groups of the sugar derivative compete with each other to attract caffeine. Calculations at different levels of theory (M06-2X/6-311++G(d,p) and B3LYP-ED=GD3BJ/def2TZVP) agree to predict several structures similar in stability (relative energy) but with different affinity (binding energy). These computational results were experimentally verified by laser infrared spectroscopy, through which the caffeine·phenyl-β-D-glucopyranoside complex was identified in an isolated environment, produced under supersonic expansion conditions. The experimental observations correlate with the computational results. Caffeine shows intermolecular interaction preferences that combine both hydrogen bonding and stacking interactions. This dual behaviour had already been observed with phenol, and now with phenyl-β-D-glucopyranoside, it is confirmed and maximised. In fact, the size of the complex’s counterparts affects the maximisation of the intermolecular bond strength because of the conformational adaptability given by the stacking interaction. Comparison with the binding of caffeine within the orthosteric site of the A2A adenosine receptor shows that the more strongly bound caffeine·phenyl-β-D-glucopyranoside conformer mimics the interactions occurring within the receptor.
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