Stabilization energies of the hydrogen-bonded and stacked structures of nucleic acid base pairs in the crystal geometries of CG, AT, and AC DNA steps and in the NMR geometry of the 5'-d(GCGAAGC)-3' hairpin: Complete basis set calculations at the MP2 and CCSD(T) levels

Iwona Dabkowska, Haydee Valdes Gonzalez, Petr Jurecka, Pavel Hobza
Journal of Physical Chemistry. A 2005 February 17, 109 (6): 1131-6
Stabilization energies of the H-bonded and stacked structures of a DNA base pair were studied in the crystal structures of adenine-thymine, cytosine-guanine, and adenine-cytosine steps as well as in the 5'-d(GCGAAGC)-3' hairpin (utilizing the NMR geometry). Stabilization energies were determined as the sum of the complete basis set (CBS) limit of MP2 stabilization energies and the Delta E(CCSD(T)) - Delta E(MP2) correction term evaluated with the 6-31G*(0.25) basis set. The CBS limit was determined by a two-point extrapolation using the aug-cc-pVXZ basis sets for X = D and T. While the H-bonding energies are comparable to those of base pairs in a crystal and a vacuum, the stacking energies are considerably smaller in a crystal. Despite this, the stacking is still important and accounts for a significant part of the overall stabilization. It contributes equally to the stability of DNA as does H-bonding for AT-rich DNAs, while in the case of GC-rich DNAs it forms about one-third of the total stabilization. Interstrand stacking reaches surprisingly large values, well comparable to the intrastrand ones, and thus contributes significantly to the overall stabilization. The hairpin structure is characterized by significant stacking, and both guanine...cytosine pairs possess stacking energies larger than 11.5 kcal/mol. A high portion of stabilization in the studied hairpin comes from stacking (similar to that found for AT-rich DNAs) despite the fact that it contains two GC Watson-Crick pairs having very large H-bonding stabilization. The DFT/B3LYP/6-31G** method yields satisfactory values of interaction energies for H-bonded structures, while it fails completely for stacking.

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