Double-proton transfer in adenine-thymine and guanine-cytosine base pairs. A post-Hartree-Fock ab initio study

Leonid Gorb, Yevgeniy Podolyan, Pawel Dziekonski, W Andrzej Sokalski, Jerzy Leszczynski
Journal of the American Chemical Society 2004 August 18, 126 (32): 10119-29
The results of a comprehensive study on the double-proton transfer in Adenine-Thymine (AT) and Guanine-Cytosine (GC) base pairs at room temperature in gas phase and with the inclusion of environmental effects are obtained. The double-proton-transfer process has been investigated in the AT and GC base pairs at the B3LYP/6-31G(d) and MP2/6-31G(d) levels of theory. It has been predicted that the hydrogen-bonded bases possess nonplanar geometries due to sp3 hybridization of nitrogen atoms and because of the soft intermolecular vibrations in the molecular complexes. An analysis of the energetic parameters of the local minima suggests that rare AT base pair conformation is not populated due to the shallowness of this minimum, which completely disappears from the Gibbs free energy surface. The stabilization of canonic or rare forms of the DNA bases by water molecules and metal cations has been predicted by calculating the optimal configuration of charges (using differential product/transition state stabilization approach) followed by calculations of the interactions between the base pair and a water/sodium cation.

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