Theoretical study of the stability of myrsinone in vacuo and in solution
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The stability of various conformers of myrsinone (2,3-dihydroxy-5-undecyl-1,4-benzoquinone) and its tautomer [2,3-dihydroxy-5-(undec-1-ene)-cyclohex-2-ene-1,4-dione] has been studied in vacuo and in solution on model systems with the long alkyl side chains replaced with ethyl and eth-1-ene groups, respectively. Ab initio Hartree–Fock (HF) calculations in vacuo and free-energy calculations either in chloroform or in water solution, in the framework of the polarizable continuum model, have been carried out on the 6-31G* optimized geometries obtained in vacuo and in solution (water or chloroform). The nature of the stationary points found was investigated using normal mode analysis. The energy gap between the two tautomeric forms turns out to be about 1.3 kcal/mol in vacuo and becomes about 0.3 kcal/mol in chloroform solution, whereas in water the second tautomer is favored by about 1.2 kcal/mol. The effect of second-order Møller–Plesset (MP2) correlation corrections has been considered on both the energy and the geometry of the tautomers in vacuo, whereas in solution only their effect on the energy was taken into account. The contribution to the stability in the gas phase and in solution of the intramolecular hydrogen bonds between the hydroxy hydrogen and the quinonoid oxygen is larger at the MP2 level than at the HF one. The directionality of the hydrogen bonds between the hydroxy groups affects considerably only the stability of the isomer with the exocyclic double bond. The computed chemical shifts for the two tautomers were compared to the experimental ones. In addition the solvation properties of 2,5-dihydroxy-3-ethyl-1,4-benzoquinone and of an ortho-quinonoid system were considered in order to evaluate the effect of the repulsion between vicinal hydroxy or quinonoid groups.
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