Thermodynamics of porphyrin dimerization in aqueous solutions.

R. Margalit*, M. Rotenberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The dimerization equilibrium of deuteroporphyrin IX and of mesoporphyrin IX in aqueous solutions were studied by fluorimetric techniques over the 0.01-1 microM concentration range, where dimerization is the dominant aggregation process. Deuteroporphyrin IX was studied at several temperatures over the range 22-37 degrees C, and mesoporphyrin at 25 and 37 degrees C. The magnitudes determined for the dimerization equilibrium constants (25 degrees C, neutral pH, phosphate-buffered saline) are 2.3 X 10(6)M-1 and 5.4 X 10(6)M-1 for the deutero and meso derivatives respectively. The meso, deutero and haemato species tested show a similar temperature effect, namely dimerization decreasing with increasing temperature, indicating the involvement of a negative enthalpy change. Van't Hoff isochore of the dimerization constants determined for deuteroporphyrin IX was linear within the temperature range of 22-37 degrees C, allowing the calculation of the thermodynamic parameters. For deuteroporphyrin dimerization, those were found to be delta G0 = -36. 4kJ X mol-1; delta H0 = -46. 0kJ X mol-1 and delta S0 = -32.2J X K-1 X mol-1 (at neutral pH, 25 degrees C, phosphate-buffered saline), showing the process to be enthalpy-driven. Similar trends have been found for porphyrin species other than those studied here. Our data fit with a hypothesis giving a major role to the solvent in driving porphyrins to aggregate in aqueous solution. The magnitudes and directions of the energetic changes fit better with the expectation of the ' solvophobic force' theory predicting enthalpy-driven association, than with the classic hydrophobic bonding, predicting the association to be entropy-driven.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-450
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 15 Apr 1984


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