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Flavins are employed as redox cofactors and chromophores in a plethora of flavoenzymes. Their versatility is an outcome of intrinsic molecular properties of the isoalloxazine ring modulated by the protein scaffold and surrounding solvent. Thus, an investigation of isolated flavins with high-level electronic-structure methods and with error assessment of the calculated properties will contribute to building better models of flavin reactivity. Here, we benchmarked ground-state properties such as electron affinity, gas-phase basicity, dipole moment, torsion energy, and tautomer stability for lumiflavins in all biologically relevant oxidation and charge states. Overall, multiconfigurational effects are small and chemical accuracy is achieved by coupled-cluster treatments of energetic properties. Augmented basis sets and extrapolations to the complete basis-set limit are necessary for consistent agreement with experimental energetics. Among DFT functionals tested, M06-2X shows the best performance for most properties, except gas-phase basicity, in which M06 and CAM-B3LYP perform better. Moreover, dipole moments of radical flavins show large deviations for all functionals studied. Tautomers with noncanonical protonation states are significantly populated at normal temperatures, adding to the complexity of modeling flavins. These results will guide future computational studies of flavoproteins and flavin chemistry by indicating the limitations of electronic-structure methodologies and the contributions of multiple tautomeric states. © 2022 Wiley Periodicals LLC.


Felipe Curtolo, Guilherme M Arantes. Molecular properties and tautomeric equilibria of isolated flavins. Journal of computational chemistry. 2022 Sep 05;43(23):1561-1572

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PMID: 35778728

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