Adhikary, A., Kumar, A. and Sevilla, M. D. Photo-induced Hole Transfer from Base to Sugar in DNA: Relationship to Primary Radiation Damage. Radiat. Res. 165, 479–484 (2006).

This work presents the hypothesis that photo-excitation of G·+ in DNA and model systems results in the same electronic states expected from direct ionization of the sugar phosphate backbone and that these states lead to specific sugar radicals on the DNA sugar phosphate backbone. As evidence we show that visible photo-excitation of guanine cation radicals (G·+) in the dinucleoside phosphate TpdG results in high yields (about 85%) of deoxyribose sugar radicals at the C1′ and C3′ sites. Further, we have calculated transition energies of hole transfer from G·+ in TpdG using time-dependent density functional theory (TD-DFT) at the B3LYP/6–31G(d) level in gas phase as well as in a solvated environment. These calculations clearly predict that visible excitation of G·+ in TpdG causes transitions from only inner-shell filled molecular orbitals (MOs) to the singly occupied molecular orbital (SOMO) that effectively result in hole transfer from guanine either to the sugar phosphate backbone or to the adjacent base, thymine. The hole transfer is followed by rapid deprotonation from the sugar to form C1′ and C3′ radicals. These experimental and theoretical results are in agreement with our previously published experimental and theoretical results that photo-excitation of G·+ results in high yields of deoxyribose sugar radicals in DNA, guanine deoxyribonucleosides and deoxyribonucleotides. Photo-excitation of G·+ therefore provides a convenient method to produce and study sugar radicals that are expected to be formed in γ-irradiated DNA systems unencumbered by the many other pathways involved in direct ionization.

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