Spectroscopically dark phosphate features revealed by chemical exchange saturation transfer

Jiaqi Lu, Joshua S. Straub, Mesopotamia S. Nowotarski, Songi Han, Xiang Xu, Alexej Jerschow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Phosphate is an essential anion in the human body, comprising approximately 1% of the total body weight, and playing a vital role in metabolism, cell membranes, and bone formation. We have recently provided spectroscopic, microscopic, and computational evidence indicating that phosphates can aggregate much more readily in solution than previously thought. This prior work provided indirect evidence through the observation of unusual (Formula presented.) P NMR relaxation and line-broadening effects with increasing temperature. Here, we show that, under conditions of slow exchange and selective RF saturation, additional features become visible in chemical exchange saturation transfer (CEST) experiments, which appear to be related to the previously reported phosphate clustering. In particular, CEST shows pronounced dips several ppm upfield of the main phosphate resonance at low temperatures, while direct (Formula presented.) P spectroscopy does not produce any signals in that range. We study the pH dependence of these new spectroscopic features and present exchange and spectroscopic parameters based on fitting the CEST data. These findings could be of importance in the investigation of phosphate dynamics, especially in the biological milieu.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere5057
JournalNMR in Biomedicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2024


  • CEST
  • assembly
  • dark state
  • phosphate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Spectroscopy


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