A Computational Protocol for Vibrational Circular Dichroism Spectra of Cyclic Oligopeptides

Scientific article 2022
Karolina Solheimslid Eikås Maarten Beerepoot Kenneth Ruud
Cyclic peptides are a promising class of compounds for next-generation antibiotics as they may provide new ways of limiting antibiotic resistance development. Although their cyclic structure will introduce some rigidity, their conformational space is large and they usually have multiple chiral centers that give rise to a wide range of possible stereoisomers. Chiroptical spectroscopies such as vibrational circular dichroism (VCD) are used to assign stereochemistry and discriminate enantiomers of chiral molecules, often in combination with electronic structure methods. The reliable determination of the absolute configuration of cyclic peptides will require robust computational methods than can identify all significant conformers and their relative population and reliably assign their stereochemistry from their chiroptical spectra by comparison with ab initio calculated spectra. We here present a computational protocol for the accurate calculation of the VCD spectra of a series of flexible cyclic oligopeptides. The protocol builds on the Conformer-Rotamer Ensemble Sampling Tool (CREST) developed by Grimme and co-workers ( Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 2020, 22, 7169−7192 and J. Chem. Theory. Comput. 2019, 15, 2847–2862) in combination with postoptimizations using B3LYP and moderately sized basis sets. Our recommended computational protocol for the computation of VCD spectra of cyclic oligopeptides consists of three steps: (1) conformational sampling with CREST and tight-binding density functional theory (xTB); (2) energy ranking based on single-point energy calculations as well as geometry optimization and VCD calculations of conformers that are within 2.5 kcal/mol of the most stable conformer using B3LYP/6-31+G*/CPCM; and (3) VCD spectra generation based on Boltzmann weighting with Gibbs free energies. Our protocol provides a feasible basis for generating VCD spectra also for larger cyclic peptides of biological/pharmaceutical interest and can thus be used to investigate promising compounds for next-generation antibiotics.

Publisher information

Eikås, Karolina Solheimslid; Beerepoot, Maarten; Ruud, Kenneth. A Computational Protocol for Vibrational Circular Dichroism Spectra of Cyclic Oligopeptides. Journal of Physical Chemistry A 2022

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