Local site selectivity and conformational structures in the glycosidic bond scission of cellobiose.
ABSTRACT Car-Parrinello molecular dynamics combined with metadynamics simulations were used to study the acid-catalyzed hydrolysis of cellobiose (CB) in aqueous solution. The hydrolysis was studied in two steps. Step 1 involves the proton transfer from solvent to CB and dissociation of the glycosidic bond to β-glucose and oxacarbenium ion species. Step 2 involves the formation of α-glucose from oxacarbenium and regeneration of the acid proton species. Step 1 is endothermic, while Step 2 is exothermic. The overall activation free energy of CB hydrolysis is 32.5 kcal mol(-1), and the overall reaction free energy is -5.9 kcal mol(-l), consistent with available experimental data. We observe that a stepwise mechanism generally described in the literature for Step 1 is not significantly favored relative to a concerted β-1,4' linkage dissociation process.
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