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Peptide Bond of Aqueous Dipeptides Is Resilient to Deep Ultraviolet Irradiation

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The susceptibility of aqueous dipeptides to photodissociation by deep ultraviolet irradiation is studied by femtosecond spectroscopy supported by density functional theory calculations. The primary photodynamics of the aqueous dipeptides of glycyl-glycine (gly-gly), alalyl-alanine (ala-ala), and glycyl-alanine (gly-ala) show that upon photoexcitation at a wavelength of 200 nm, about 10% of the excited dipeptides dissociate by decarboxylation within 100 ps, while the rest of the dipeptides return to their native ground state. Accordingly, the vast majority of the excited dipeptides withstand the deep ultraviolet excitation. In those relatively few cases, where excitation leads to dissociation, the measurements show that deep ultraviolet irradiation breaks the Cα-C bond rather than the peptide bond. The peptide bond is thereby left intact, and the decarboxylated dipeptide moiety is open to subsequent reactions. The experiments indicate that the low photodissociation yield and in particular the resilience of the peptide bond to dissociation are due to rapid internal conversion from the excited state to the ground state, followed by efficient vibrational relaxation facilitated by intramolecular coupling among the carbonate and amide modes. Thus, the entire process of internal conversion and vibrational relaxation to thermal equilibrium on the dipeptide ground state occurs on a time scale of less than 2 ps.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Pages (from-to)9777–9785
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - May 2023

    Research areas

  • Alanine, Dipeptides/chemistry, Ions, Spectrum Analysis, Ultraviolet Rays

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