Investigation of the effect of cucurbituril complexation on the photophysical and acid–base properties of the antimalarial drug quinine
Host–guest complexation of mono and dicationic quinine with cucurbituril (CB7), a water-soluble macrocyclic host molecule, has been investigated. Job's plot, time-resolved anisotropy as well as concentration dependent NMR titration confirm the binding of two CB7 macrocycles with one quinine molecule. The binding affinity of dicationic quinine with CB7 is one order of magnitude higher than the binding constant of mono-cationic quinine. Such preferential binding results in one unit pKa shift in the ground-state of the quinoline ring. However, using fluorescence spectroscopy we have obtained two acid-dissociation constants, one for quinoline ring nitrogen and the other for the nitrogen of the quinuclidine moiety. In the excited state, CB7 complexation causes one unit pKa shift for the quinoline ring and 1.9 unit shift for the quinuclidine moiety. Interestingly, a large enhancement of fluorescence lifetime and anisotropy of quinine at pH 2.7 and pH 9.0 upon CB7 complexation was observed due to the restriction of conformational flexibility. Moreover, at pH 3.0, a large fluorescence enhancement of quinine due to CB7 complexation was observed and it was quite significant as compared to that of quinine in 0.1 (M) HCl without CB7. We believe that this study of quinine complexation with CB7 will reduce phototoxicity, increase bioavailability and offer an alternative standard for quantum yield measurements in an amiable condition.