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Charges of phosphate groups. A role in stabilization of 2'-deoxyribonucleotides. A DFT investigation.

  • Gorb, Leonid1
  • Shishkin, Oleg
  • Leszczynski, Jerzy
  • 1 Computational Center for Molecular Structure and Interactions, Department of Chemistry, Jackson State University, P.O. Box 17910, 1325 Lynch Street, Jackson, MS 39217, USA. [email protected]
Published Article
Journal of biomolecular structure & dynamics
Publication Date
February 2005
PMID: 15588107


We have analyzed the relative stabilities and Gibbs tautomeric free energy for tautomeric transitions of neutral 2'-deoxyribonucleotides and its mono- and di-protonated forms. Geometry optimizations of these nucleic acid constituents have been performed at the DFT/B3LYP level using the standard 6-31G(d) basis set. The prediction of relative stabilities, Gibbs tautomeric free energy has been made at the B3LYP/6-311++G(d,p)//B3LYP/6-31G(d) level of theory. For each nucleoside four major conformers, i.e., north/anti, north/syn, south/anti, and south/syn have been taken into consideration. We have found the substantial effect of the uncompensated charge on the relative stability of 2'-deoxyribonucleotides. In particular, when the charge of 2'-deoxyribonucleotide anions is completely compensated by protons, the syn conformations have been found to be the global minima due to stabilization provided by intramolecular hydrogen bonds. However, the negative charge that appears due to the successive removal of the protons from the phosphate group destabilizes these syn conformations and stabilizes preferably the south/anti conformations (except of 2'-deoxyguanosine phosphate). Only 2'-deoxyribonucleotides, possessing south/anti and north/anti orientations, containing guanine and cytosine can contribute significantly to the rate of spontaneous point mutations due to the formation of biologically relevant amounts of 'rare' tautomers. However, we found strong influence of uncompensated negative charge for 2'-deoxyribonucleotides which possess syn conformations. Finally we have found that the proton transfer could result in the spontaneous change of 2'-deoxyribonucleotides conformations. We conclude that this phenomenon could be considered as a new way for the stabilization of 'rare' isomers for such DNA bases as cytosine and thymine.

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