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The journal of physical chemistry. A

Specific photodynamics in thymine clusters: the role of hydrogen bonding.


PMID 21648386

Abstract

A photoionization detected IR study of thymine and 1-methylthymine monohydrates and of their homodimers was carried out to shed some light on the structure of the thymine clusters whose complex photodynamics has recently been the subject of great interest. Under supersonic jet conditions, thymine forms doubly H-bonded cyclic clusters with water or another base preferentially via its N1-H group and the adjacent carbonyl group. This hydrate is of no biological relevance since the N1-H group is the sugar binding site in thymidine. On the other hand, 1-methylthymine forms the donor H-bonds only via the N3-H group. Hence, properties of the N1-H and the N3-H bound clusters of thymine can be studied using thymine and 1-methylthymine molecules, respectively. No biologically relevant conformations of the dimers and hydrates of thymine, contrary to those of 1-methylthymine, are observed under supersonic jet conditions. Thymine homodimer, which extensively fragments upon UV ionization by formation of a protonated monomer, exhibits two N1-H···O═C2 hydrogen bonds. The photodynamics of hydrated thymines is found to be extremely sensitive to the hydration site: ranging from an ultrafast relaxation in less than 100 fs up to formation of a dark state with the lifetime on the microsecond time scale.

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M7636
1-Methylthymine
C6H8N2O2