Triplet (pi,pi) reactivity of the guanine-cytosine DNA base pair: benign deactivation versus double tautomerization via intermolecular hydrogen transfer

Lluís Blancafort, Joan Bertran, Mariona Sodupe
Journal of the American Chemical Society 2004 October 13, 126 (40): 12770-1
Ab initio computations (CASSCF/6-31G* supported by CAS-PT2 single-point calculations) are used to study the reactivity of the triplet excited state of the guanine-cytosine DNA base pair. When the triplet excitation is centered on cytosine there is a competition between benign deactivation to the ground state and a hydrogen transfer route that can trigger double tautomerization. The calculated barriers favor the benign deactivation, but this route goes through a singlet/triplet intersystem crossing with small spin-orbit coupling. Therefore, the potentially mutagenic, double tautomerization route cannot be ruled out completely, and the two paths are probably an alternative to the well-known cytidine photodimerization reaction.

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