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Chemphyschem : a European journal of chemical physics and physical chemistry

Gas-phase Watson-Crick and Hoogsteen isomers of the nucleobase mimic 9-methyladenine x 2-pyridone.


PMID 16755637

Abstract

2-Pyridone (pyridin-2-one) is a mimic of the uracil and thymine nucleobases, with only one N--H and C==O group. It provides a single H-bonding site, compared to three for the canonical pyrimidine nucleobases. Employing the supersonically cooled 9-methyladenine2-pyridone (9MAd x 2PY) complex, which is the simplest base pair to mimic adenine-uracil or adenine-thymine, we show that its gas-phase UV spectrum consists of contributions from two isomers. Based on the H-bonding sites of 9-methyladenine, these are the Watson-Crick and Hoogsteen forms. Combining two-color two-photon ionisation (2C-R2PI), UV-UV depletion and laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopies allows separation of the two band systems, revealing characteristic intermolecular in-plane vibrations of the two isomers. The calculated S(0) and S(1) intermolecular frequencies are in good agreement with the experimental ones. Ab initio calculations predict the Watson-Crick isomer to be slightly more stable (D(0)=-16.0 kcal mol(-1)) than the Hoogsteen isomer (D(0)=-15.0 kcal mol(-1)). The calculated free energies Delta(f)G(0) of the Watson-Crick and Hoogsteen isomers agree qualitatively with the experimental isomer concentration ratio of 3:1.

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