Cross-Peaks in Simple 2D NMR Experiments from Chemical Exchange of Transverse Magnetization

Two-dimensional correlation measurements such as COSY, NOESY, HMQC and HSQC experiments are central to small molecule and biomolecular NMR spectroscopy, and commonly form the basis of more complex experiments designed to study chemical exchange occurring during additional mixing periods. However, exchange occurring during chemical shift evolution periods can also influence the appearance of such spectra. While this is often exploited through one-dimensional lineshape analysis ('dynamic NMR'), the analysis of exchange across multiple chemical shift evolution periods has received less attention. Here we report that chemical exchange-induced cross-peaks can arise in even the simplest two-dimensional NMR experiments. These cross-peaks can have highly distorted phases that contain rich information about the underlying exchange process. The quantitative analysis of such peaks, from a single 2D spectrum, can provide a highly accurate characterization of underlying exchange processes.