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Issue 20, 2005
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Excited state tautomerization of azaindole

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Abstract

Fluorescent tryptophan analogs, like azatryptophan, offer an advantage for exploring protein and peptide structure and dynamics. The chromophoric moieties, azaindole, of the azatryptophan analogs are investigated for their potential as fluorescent probes. The photophysical properties of 4-azaindole (4AI) and 5-azaindole (5AI) and their tautomers are characterized through computational and experimental methods. Both 4AI and 5AI undergo excited state tautomerization in the presence of 1 M NaOH. The protonated forms of 4AI and 5AI have a fluorescence emission of 415 and 410 nm, respectively, while the tautomers of 4AI and 5AI have a fluorescent emission of 480 and 450 nm, respectively. Gas phase computations (B3LYP/6–31+G**) show that the N1H azaindole tautomer is lower in energy in the ground state by as much as 12.5 kcal mol−1, while the NnH azaindole tautomer is lower in energy in the excited state by as much as 18.1 kcal mol−1. Solvent effects on the tautomer energy differences were computed using the isodensity polarized continuum model (IPCM). The polarity of the solvent helps to reduce the energy difference between the tautomers in the ground state by as much as 5.8 kcal mol−1, but not enough to reverse the ground state tautomer preference.

Graphical abstract: Excited state tautomerization of azaindole

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Article information


Submitted
12 May 2005
Accepted
10 Aug 2005
First published
14 Sep 2005

Org. Biomol. Chem., 2005,3, 3701-3706
Article type
Paper

Excited state tautomerization of azaindole

M. T. Cash, P. R. Schreiner and R. S. Phillips, Org. Biomol. Chem., 2005, 3, 3701
DOI: 10.1039/B506652B

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