Single crystals of the free base of guanosine 5′-monophosphate were X-irradiated at 10 and at 65 K and investigated between these temperatures and room temperature using K-band ESR and ENDOR spectroscopy. Three free radicals were detected in this temperature range. Two of these were identified as the O6-protonated anion radical and the C8 H-addition radical. Both of these species were present immediately after irradiation at 10 K. The anion radical was formed in two slightly different conformations, of which one decayed at about 150 K and the second at about 250 K. No successor radicals could be detected following the decay of the anion radical. The C8 H-adduct was stable at all temperatures used. The use of partially deuterated crystals confirmed the assignments made and showed that the main pathway for the formation of the C8 H-adduct consisted of addition of a proton from an easily exchangeable site. It is suggested that the C8 H-adduct is formed subsequent to a primary oxidation event localized either at the guanine base or at a nearby water of crystallization. Possible mechanisms for the formation of this product are discussed.

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