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pKa Determination of a Histidine Residue in a Short Peptide Using Raman Spectroscopy.

Molecules (Basel, Switzerland) (2019-01-27)
Brett H Pogostin, Anders Malmendal, Casey H Londergan, Karin S Åkerfeldt
ABSTRACT

Determining the pKa of key functional groups is critical to understanding the pH-dependent behavior of biological proteins and peptide-based biomaterials. Traditionally, ¹H NMR spectroscopy has been used to determine the pKa of amino acids; however, for larger molecules and aggregating systems, this method can be practically impossible. Previous studies concluded that the C-D stretches in Raman are a useful alternative for determining the pKa of histidine residues. In this study, we report on the Raman application of the C2-D probe on histidine's imidazole side chain to determining the pKa of histidine in a short peptide sequence. The pKa of the tripeptide was found via difference Raman spectroscopy to be 6.82, and this value was independently confirmed via ¹H NMR spectroscopy on the same peptide. The C2-D probe was also compared to other Raman reporters of the protonation state of histidine and was determined to be more sensitive and reliable than other protonation-dependent signals. The C2-D Raman probe expands the tool box available to chemists interested in directly interrogating the pKa's of histidine-containing peptide and protein systems.