Gd(III) complexes as paramagnetic tags: Evaluation of the spin delocalization over the nuclei of the ligand

A. Collauto, A. Feintuch, M. Qi, A. Godt, T. Meade, D. Goldfarb*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Complexes of the Gd(III) ion are currently being established as spin labels for distance determination in biomolecules by pulse dipolar spectroscopy. Because Gd(III) is an f ion, one expects electron spin density to be localized on the Gd(III) ion - an important feature for the mentioned application. Most of the complex ligands have nitrogens as Gd(III) coordinating atoms. Therefore, measurement of the 14N hyperfine coupling gives access to information on the localization of the electron spin on the Gd(III) ion. We carried out W-band, 1D and 2D 14N and 1H ENDOR measurements on the Gd(III) complexes Gd-DOTA, Gd-538, Gd-595, and Gd-PyMTA that serve as spin labels for Gd-Gd distance measurements. The obtained 14N spectra are particularly well resolved, revealing both the hyperfine and nuclear quadrupole splittings, which were assigned using 2D Mims ENDOR experiments. Additionally, the spectral contributions of the two different types of nitrogen atoms of Gd-PyMTA, the aliphatic N atom and the pyridine N atom, were distinguishable. The 14N hyperfine interaction was found to have a very small isotropic hyperfine component of -0.25 to -0.37 MHz. Furthermore, the anisotropic hyperfine interactions with the 14N nuclei and with the non-exchangeable protons of the ligands are well described by the point-dipole approximation using distances derived from the crystal structures. We therefore conclude that the spin density is fully localized on the Gd(III) ion and that the spin density distribution over the nuclei of the ligands is rightfully ignored when analyzing distance measurements. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156-163
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016


  • EPR
  • Gd(III)
  • Spin labels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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