Modulation of fragmental charge transfer via hydrogen bonds. Direct measurement of electronic contributions

Roie Yerushalmi, Alexander Brandis, Varda Rosenbach-Belkin, Kim K. Baldridge, Avigdor Scherz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Hydrogen bonds play an important role in an overwhelming variety of fields from biology to surface and supramolecular chemistry. The term "hydrogen bond" refers to a wide range of interactions with various covalent and polar contributions. In particular, hydrogen bonds have an important role in the folding and packing of peptides and nucleic acids. Recent studies also point to the importance of hydrogen bonding in the context of second-shell interactions, in metal binding and selectivity in metalloproteins, and in controlling the dynamics of membrane proteins. In this study, we demonstrate and quantify the modulation of fragmental charge transfer from hydrogen-bonded ligands to a metal center, by employing our recently introduced molecular potentiometer. The molecular details that affect this type of fragmental charge transfer are presented and a path for transferring chemical information is demonstrated. We found that H-bond interactions in the extended positions of axial ligands provide an effective means of modulating the amount of fragmental charge transfer to a metal center, thereby dramatically influencing the electronic properties of the ligand, the binding affinity, and the binding of additional ligands. The magnitude of fragmental charge-transfer modulation induced by a single ligand-solvent H-bond interaction is comparable to those induced by covalent substitution, although H-bond enthalpy is only on the order of several kilojoules per mole. Importantly, we find a significant change in the ligand electronic properties, even for weak C-H⋯O=C H-bond formation, where the bond enthalpy is substantially lower than for conventional H-bond interactions. The excess fragmental charge transferred to the metal center, deduced from the spectroscopic measurements, correlates well with the computationally determined values. Our findings underscore the importance of second-shell interactions in the active sites of enzymes, beyond the structural and electrostatic importance that is widely recognized today.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)412-421
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number2
StatePublished - 19 Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes


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