Ab initio and NBO studies of methyl internal rotation in 1-methyl-2(1H)-quinolinone: effect of aromatic substitution to 1-methyl-2(1H)-pyridone

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1-methyl-2(1H)-quinolinone (MeQone) forms the framework of several hundred alkaloid molecules both natural and synthetic being used for various biological applications. From chemical structure point of view, the molecules can also be seen as an aromatic ring fused to 1-methyl-2(1H)-pyridone (1-MPY). In this work, we present theoretical investigations on internal rotation of methyl group in MeQone in light of 1-MPY. We looked into the change in the three-fold (V3) methyl internal rotation barrier resulted from the aromatic ring substitution to 1-MPY. The V3 term in two molecules were calculated using density functional theory and Hartree-Fock theory with different basis sets. MeQone has calculated V3 term (in S0 state) three times higher in magnitude compared with that of 1-MPY. The role of aromatic substitution in increase of V3 term is investigated using natural bond orbital (NBO) analyses. In the NBO analysis, it is found that the aromatic ring as highly delocalized π-system lowers the magnitude of hyperconjugation energy in MeQone compared with 1-MPY. This is due to the extension of delocalization of π-electrons to pyridone ring which lowers the orbital overlap. However, the Lewis energy increases substantially and make the overall barrier energy higher in MeQone compared with 1-MPY. From our study, we conclude that in the molecules such as 1-MPY and MeQone where the methyl group has two single bonds vicinal to it, the overall hyperconjugation energy is always barrier forming with nonlocal interactions playing significant role. Also, the Lewis energy plays the decisive role in barrier formation, and its magnitude can be tuned by tuning the π-electron delocalization. We have also looked into the change in methyl group conformation upon electronic excitation to S1 state. In 1-MPY, the methyl group rotated by 60° upon excitation whereas in MeQone, there was no conformational change. Strong π*-σ* interaction in LUMO in top-of-barrier conformation is responsible for the change in the methyl group conformation in 1-MPY, whereas same π*-σ* interaction in LUMO of minimum energy conformation results in unchanged excited state conformation in MeQone. Graphical abstract.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Molecular Modeling
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 04-04-2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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