Exploring Hydrogen Bond in Biological Molecules

José A. Fernández


Life makes extensive use of non-covalent interactions, as they
are a convenient way to build complex structures that can be assembled
or disassembled quickly, with a minimum energy consumption. Among
the inter-molecular interactions, hydrogen bond plays a central role, and
it is the main responsible of the structure of proteins, DNA, and several
other superstructures in the cell. Characterization of hydrogen bond
in biologic environment is not an easy task, and several complex and
imaginative techniques have been developed to circumvent the technical
challenges of such studies. We present here an overview of the field
of mass-resolved laser spectroscopy applied to nucleobases, peptides,
and monosaccharides to demonstrate that despite the different environment
the molecules encounter in the jet, such experiments yield important
structural information that helps understanding the role played by
hydrogen bond in biology.

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