Assessing the Indirect Photochemical Transformation of Dissolved Combined Amino Acids through the Use of Systematically Designed Histidine-Containing Oligopeptides

Chiheng Chu, Rachel A. Lundeen, Michael Sander, Kristopher McNeill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Photooxidation is an important abiotic transformation pathway for amino acids (AAs) in sunlit waters. Although dissolved free AAs are well studied, the photooxidation of dissolved combined AAs (DCAAs) remains poorly investigated. This study is a systematic investigation of the effect of neighboring photostable AA residues (i.e., aliphatic, cationic, anionic, or aromatic residues) on the environmental indirect photochemical transformation of histidine (His) in His-containing oligopeptides. The pKa values of His residues in the studied oligopeptides were found to be between 4.3 and 8.1. Accordingly, the phototransformation rate constants of the His-containing oligopeptides were highly pH-dependent in an environmentally relevant pH range with higher reactivity for neutral His than for the protonated species. The photostable AA residues significantly modulated the photoreactivity of oligopeptides either through altering the accessibility of His to photochemically produced oxidants or through shifting the pKa values of His residues. In addition, the influence of neighboring photostable AA residues on the sorption-enhanced phototransformation of oligopeptides in solutions containing chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) was assessed. The constituent photostable AA residues promoted sorption of His-containing oligopeptides to CDOM macromolecules through electrostatic attraction, hydrophobic effects, and/or low-barrier hydrogen bonds, and subsequently increased the apparent phototransformation rate constants by up to 2 orders of magnitude.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12798-12807
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume49
Issue number21
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 3 2015

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