Conformers of gaseous threonine

Tamas Szidarovszky, Gabor Czako, Attila G. Csaszar

Research output: Article

32 Citations (Scopus)


Following an extensive search on the potential energy surfaces (PES) of the natural amino acid L-threonine (Thr) and its allotropic form L-allo-threonine (aThr), 56 and 61 conformers of Thr and aThr, respectively, have been located with the help of density functional theory (DFT). Accurate structures, relative energies, rotational as well as quartic and sextic centrifugal distortion constants, dipole moments, 14N nuclear quadrupole coupling constants, anharmonic vibrational frequencies and double-harmonic infrared intensities have been determined from ab initio electronic structure calculations for the five most stable Thr and aThr conformers. The global minimum, Thr-I, has a cyclic triple H-bond motif with strong OH N, C=O HO, and a weaker NH OH H-bond, where the latter two involves the side chain OH, and an energetically unfavourable trans-COOH arrangement. The best relative energies of the conformers, accurate within 1 kJ mol-1, have been determined through the first-principles composite focal-point analysis (FPA) approach. There are four and three conformers of Thr and aThr, respectively, within a relative energy of 5 kJ mol-1. Similarly to other amino acids investigated, lower levels of electronic structure theory, especially the Hartree-Fock level, are unable to determine the correct relative energies of the conformers. The rotational, the quartic and sextic centrifugal distortion, and the 14N nuclear quadrupole coupling constants as well as the anharmonic vibrational fundamentals and double-harmonic infrared intensities, all determined using DFT, should aid identification and characterization of the conformers of threonine and allo-threonine by rotational and vibrational spectroscopies, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)761-775
Number of pages15
JournalMolecular Physics
Issue number8-12
Publication statusPublished - jan. 1 2009


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

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