A theoretical investigation of the mechanism of formation of a simplified analog of the green fluorescent protein (GFP) from a peptide model
Theoretical calculations at the B3LYP/6-311++G(d,p) level have been carried out on the reaction path connecting a dipeptide to an imidazolinone as a model for the formation of GFP. In addition, we have studied the hydration effects on the processes, adding a water molecule to assist the cyclization. The solvent effects have been taken into account by introducing the monohydrated molecules into a solvent cavity with a polarized continuum model. Significant reductions of the energy barriers for the reaction path can be observed within the water-assisted processes. The solvent effects account for a barrier lowering of 4–5 kJ mol−1.