Single crystals of 2′-deoxyguanosine 5′-monophosphate were X-irradiated at 10 K and at 65 K, receiving doses between 4.5 and 200 kGy, and studied using K-band EPR, ENDOR, and field-swept ENDOR (FSE) spectroscopy. Evidence for five base-centered and more than nine sugar-centered radicals was found at 10 K following high radiation doses. The base-centered radicals were the charged anion, the N10-deprotonated cation, the C8 H-addition radical, a C5 H-addition radical, and finally a stable radical so far unidentified but with parameters similar to those expected for the charged cation. The sugar-centered radicals were the H-abstraction radicals centered at C1′, C2′, C3′, and C5′, an alkoxy radical centered at O3′, a C5′-centered radical in which the C5′-O5′ phosphoester bond appears to be ruptured, a radical tentatively assigned to a C4′-centered radical involving a sugar-ring opening, as well as several additional unidentified sugar radicals. Most radicals were formed regardless of radiation doses. All radicals formed following low doses (4.5-9 kGy) were also observed subsequent to high doses (100-200 kGy). The relative amount of some of the radicals was dose dependent, with base radicals dominating at low doses, and a larger relative yield of sugar radicals at high doses. Above 200 K a transformation from a sugar radical into a base radical occurred. Few other radical transformations were observed. In the discussion of primary radicals formed in DNA, the presence of sugar-centered radicals has been dismissed since they are not apparent in the EPR spectra. The present data illustrate how radicals barely traceable in the EPR spectra may be identified due to strong ENDOR resonances. Also, the observation of a stable radical with parameters similar to those expected for the charged guanine cation is interesting with regard to the nature of the primary radicals stabilized in X-irradiated DNA.

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