Excited state proton transfer is not involved in the ultrafast deactivation of Guanine-Cytosine pair in solution

Lars Biemann, Sergey A Kovalenko, Karl Kleinermanns, Rainer Mahrwald, Morris Markert, Roberto Improta
Journal of the American Chemical Society 2011 December 14, 133 (49): 19664-7
Different derivatives of Guanine (G) and Cytosine (C), which sterically enforce the Watson-Crick (WC) conformer, have been studied in CHCl(3) by means of broad-band transient absorption spectroscopy. Our experiments rule out the involvement of an Excited State Proton Transfer (ESPT), which dominates the excited state decay of GC in the gas phase. Instead, the ultrafast dynamics via internal conversion occurs in a polar environment mainly by relaxation in the monomer moieties. Time-dependent density functional theory (TD-DFT) calculations in solution indeed indicate that population transfer from the bright excited states toward the charge transfer state is not effective in CHCl(3) and a noticeable energy barrier is associated with the ESPT reaction. ESPT is therefore not expected to be a main deactivation route for GC pairs within DNA.

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