Conformers of cysteine and cysteine sulfenic acid and mechanisms of the reaction of cysteine sulfenic acid with 5,5-dimethyl-1,3-cyclohexanedione (dimedone)

J Phys Chem B. 2013 Dec 19;117(50):16000-12. doi: 10.1021/jp409022m. Epub 2013 Dec 6.


Equilibrium and molecular structures, relative energies of conformers of gaseous cysteine (Cys, C, Cys-SH) and gaseous cysteine sulfenic acid (Cys-SOH), and the mechanisms of the reaction of Cys-SOH with 3-hydroxy-5,5-dimethyl-2-cyclohexen-1-one, the enol tautomer of 5,5-dimethyl-1,3-cyclohexadione (dimedone), have been studied using BD(T), CCSD(T), and QCISD(T) with the cc-pVTZ basis set and using MP2 and the density functionals B3LYP, B3PW91, PBE1PBE, PBEh1PBE, M062X, CAM-B3LYP, and WB97XD with the 6-311+G(d,p) basis set. The structures of the six lowest energy conformers of gaseous Cys-SOH are compared with the six lowest energy conformers of gaseous cysteine (Cys-SH). The relative stability of the six lowest energy conformers of Cys-SH and Cys-SOH are influenced by the interplay among many factors including dispersive effects, electronic effects, electrostatic interactions, hydrogen bonds, inductive effects, and noncovalent interactions. The mechanism of the addition of the lowest energy conformer of cysteine sulfenic acid (Cys-SOH) to dimedone may proceed through a six-membered ring transition state structure and through cyclic hydrogen-bonded transition state structures with one water molecule (8-membered ring), with two water molecules (10-membered ring), and with three water molecules (12-membered ring). Inclusion of one and two water molecules in the transition state structures lowers the activation barrier, whereas inclusion of a third water molecule raises the activation barrier.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cyclohexanones / chemistry*
  • Cysteine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Cysteine / chemistry*
  • Hydrogen Bonding
  • Molecular Conformation
  • Sulfenic Acids / chemistry*


  • Cyclohexanones
  • Sulfenic Acids
  • dimedone
  • cysteinesulfenic acid
  • Cysteine