Intramolecular BSSE and dispersion affect the structure of a dipeptide conformer

B3LYP and MP2 calculations with the commonly-used 6-31+G(d) basis set predict qualitatively different structures for the Tyr–Gly conformer book1, which is the most stable conformer identified in a previous study. The structures differ mainly in the ψtyr Ramachandran angle (138° in the B3LYP structure and 120° in the MP2 structure). The causes for the discrepant structures are attributed to missing dispersion in the B3LYP calculations and large intramolecular BSSE in the MP2 calculations. The correct ψtyr value is estimated to be 130°. The MP2/6-31+G(d) profile identified an additional conformer, not present on the B3LYP surface, with a ψtyr value of 96° and a more folded structure. This minimum is, however, likely an artefact of large intramolecular BSSE values. We recommend the use of basis sets of at least quadruple-zeta quality in density functional theory (DFT), DFTaugmented with an empirical dispersion term (DFT-D) and second-order Møller-Plesset perturbation theory (MP2 ) calculations in cases where intramolecular BSSE is expected to be large.