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Phys Chem Chem Phys. 2011 Mar 14;13(10):4311-7. doi: 10.1039/c0cp02177f. Epub 2011 Jan 21.

Novel view on the mechanism of water-assisted proton transfer in the DNA bases: bulk water hydration.

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Interdisciplinary Center for Nanotoxicity, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Jackson State University, Jackson, Mississippi 39217, USA.


In the present work, the conventional static ab initio picture of a water-assisted mechanism of the tautomerization of Nucleic Acid Bases (NABs) in an aqueous environment is enhanced by the classical and Car-Parrinello molecular dynamics simulations. The inclusion of the dynamical contribution is vital because the formation and longevity of the NAB-water bridge complexes represent decisive factors for further tautomerization. The results of both molecular dynamic techniques indicate that the longest time when such complexes exist is significantly shorter than the time required for proton transfer suggested by the static ab initio level of theory. New rate constants of tautomerization corrected for the dynamic effect of environment are proposed based on the first principles molecular dynamics data. Those values are used for the evaluation of a water-assisted mechanism that is feasible in such biological systems as E. coli cell.

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