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  1. Hydrogen bonds (HB)s are the most abundant motifs in biological systems. They play a key role in determining protein–ligand binding affinity and selectivity. We designed two pharmaceutically beneficial HB databases, database A including ca. 12,000 protein–ligand complexes with ca. 22,000 HBs and their geometries, and database B including ca. 400 protein–ligand complexes with ca. 2200 HBs, their geometries, and bond strengths determined via our local vibrational mode analysis. We identified seven major HB patterns, which can be utilized as a de novo QSAR model to predict the binding affinity for a specific protein–ligand complex. Glycine was reported as the most abundant amino acid residue in both donor and acceptor profiles, and N–H⋯O was the most frequent HB type found in database A. HBs were preferred to be in the linear range, and linear HBs were identified as the strongest. HBs with HB angles in the range of 100–110°, typically forming intramolecular five-membered ring structures, showed good hydrophobic properties and membrane permeability. Utilizing database B, we found a generalized Badger’s relationship for more than 2200 protein–ligand HBs. In addition, the strength and occurrence maps between each amino acid residue and ligand functional groups open an attractive possibility for a novel drug-design approach and for determining drug selectivity and affinity, and they can also serve as an important tool for the hit-to-lead process. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2024
  2. We systematically investigated iodine–metal and iodine–iodine bonding in van Koten’s pincer complex and 19 modifications changing substituents and/or the transition metal with a PBE0–D3(BJ)/aug–cc–pVTZ/PP(M,I) model chemistry. As a novel tool for the quantitative assessment of the iodine–metal and iodine–iodine bond strength in these complexes we used the local mode analysis, originally introduced by Konkoli and Cremer, complemented with NBO and Bader’s QTAIM analyses. Our study reveals the major electronic effects in the catalytic activity of the M–I–I non-classical three-center bond of the pincer complex, which is involved in the oxidative addition of molecular iodine I2 to the metal center. According to our investigations the charge transfer from the metal to the σ* antibonding orbital of the I–I bond changes the 3c–4e character of the M–I–I three-center bond, which leads to weakening of the iodine I–I bond and strengthening of the metal–iodine M–I bond, facilitating in this way the oxidative addition of I2 to the metal. The charge transfer can be systematically modified by substitution at different places of the pincer complex and by different transition metals, changing the strength of both the M–I and the I2 bonds. We also modeled for the original pincer complex how solvents with different polarity influence the 3c–4e character of the M–I–I bond. Our results provide new guidelines for the design of pincer complexes with specific iodine–metal bond strengths and introduce the local vibrational mode analysis as an efficient tool to assess the bond strength in complexes. 
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