Excited state proton transfer in guanine in the gas phase and in water solution: a theoretical study

M K Shukla, Jerzy Leszczynski
Journal of Physical Chemistry. A 2005 September 1, 109 (34): 7775-80
Theoretical investigations were performed to study the phenomena of ground and electronic excited state proton transfer in the isolated and monohydrated forms of guanine. Ground and transition state geometries were optimized at both the B3LYP/6-311++G(d,p) and HF/6-311G(d,p) levels. The geometries of tautomers including those of transition states corresponding to the proton transfer from the keto to the enol form of guanine were also optimized in the lowest singlet pipi* excited state using the configuration interaction singles (CIS) method and the 6-311G(d,p) basis set. The time-dependent density function theory method augmented with the B3LYP functional (TD-B3LYP) and the 6-311++G(d,p) basis set was used to compute vertical transition energies using the B3LYP/6-311++G(d,p) geometries. The TD-B3LYP/6-311++G(d,p) calculations were also performed using the CIS/6-311G(d,p) geometries to predict the adiabatic transition energies of different tautomers and the excited state proton transfer barrier heights of guanine tautomerization. The effect of the bulk aqueous environment was considered using the polarizable continuum model (PCM). The harmonic vibrational frequency calculations were performed to ascertain the nature of potential energy surfaces. The excited state geometries including that of transition states were found to be largely nonplanar. The nonplanar fragment was mostly localized in the six-membered ring. Geometries of the hydrated transition states in the ground and lowest singlet pipi* excited states were found to be zwitterionic in which the water molecule is in the form of hydronium cation (H3O(+)) and guanine is in the anionic form, except for the N9H form in the excited state where water molecule is in the hydroxyl anionic form (OH(-)) and the guanine is in the cationic form. It was found that proton transfer is characterized by a high barrier height both in the gas phase and in the bulk water solution. The explicit inclusion of a water molecule in the proton transfer reaction path reduces the barrier height drastically. The excited state barrier height was generally found to be increased as compared to that in the ground state. On the basis of the current theoretical calculation it appears that the singlet electronic excitation of guanine may not facilitate the excited state proton transfer corresponding to the tautomerization of the keto to the enol form.

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