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J Phys Chem B. 2013 Nov 21;117(46):14191-201. doi: 10.1021/jp405105w. Epub 2013 Nov 7.

Infrared multiple photon dissociation action spectroscopy of proton-bound dimers of cytosine and modified cytosines: effects of modifications on gas-phase conformations.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Wayne State University , Detroit, Michigan 48202, United States.


The gas-phase structures of proton-bound dimers of cytosine and modified cytosines and their d6-analogues generated by electrospray ionization are probed via infrared multiple photon dissociation (IRMPD) action spectroscopy and theoretical electronic structure calculations. The modified cytosines examined include the 5-methyl-, 5-fluoro-, and 5-bromo-substituted species. IRMPD action spectra of seven proton-bound dimers exhibit both similar and distinctive spectral features over the range of ∼2600-3700 cm(-1). The IRMPD spectra of all of these proton-bound dimers are relatively simple, but exhibit obvious shifts in the positions of several bands that correlate with the properties of the substituent. The measured IRMPD spectra are compared to linear IR spectra calculated for the stable low-energy tautomeric conformations, determined at the B3LYP/6-31G* level of theory, to identify the conformations accessed in the experiments. Comparison of the measured IRMPD and calculated IR spectra indicates that only a single conformation, the ground-state structure, is accessed for all proton-bound homodimers, whereas the ground-state and a small population of the first-excited tautomeric conformations are accessed for all proton-bound heterodimers. In all cases, three hydrogen-bonding interactions in which the nucleobases are aligned in an antiparallel fashion analogous to that of the DNA i-motif are responsible for stabilizing the base pairing. Thus, base modifications such as 5-methyl- and 5-halo-substitution of cytosine should not alter the structure of the DNA i-motif.

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