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To elucidate the reaction mechanism from wobble Guanine-Thymine (wG-T) to tautomeric G-T base-pairs, we investigate its transition state (TS) by density functional theory (DFT) calculations, in vacuum and in water approximated by continuum solvation model. From the comparison of these results, we attempt to elucidate the effect of solvation on the tautomeric reaction for wG-T. In addition, the same DFT calculations are performed for the canonical G-C base-pair, in order to reveal the difference in the activation energy for the reactions involving wG-T and G-C. The obtained TS structures between wG-T and G*-T/G-T* (asterisk is an enol-form of base) are almost the same in vacuum and in water. However, the activation energy is 16.6 and 19.1 kcal/mol in vacuum and in water, respectively, indicating that the effect of solvation enlarges the energy barrier for the reactions from wG-T to G-T*/G*-T. The activation energy for the tautomeric reaction from G-C to G*-C* is also evaluated to be 15.8 and 12.9 kcal/mol in vacuum and in water, respectively. Therefore, it is expected that the tautomeric reaction from wG-T to G*-T/G-T* can occur in vacuum with a similar probability as that from G-C to G*-C*. We furthermore investigate the TS structure for wG-BrU to reveal the effect of the BrU introduction into wG-T. The activation energy is 14.5 and 16.7 kcal/mol in vacuum and in water, respectively. Accordingly, the BrU introduction is found to increase the probability of the tautomeric reaction producing the enol-form G* and T* bases. Because G* prefers to bind to T rather than to C, and T* to G not A, our calculated results reveal that the spontaneous mutation from C to T or from A to G bases is accelerated by the introduction of wG-BrU base-pair.
In order to elucidate the indirect effect by radiation on DNA base pairs, we investigate the mechanism for the attacking reaction of a hydroxyl radical (·OH-radical) to the G-C and A-T base pairs, by the density functional theory (DFT) calculations. The effect of solvation on the mechanism is also revealed by performing the same DFT calculations under the continuum solvation approximation. We find the stable structures for the dehydrogenated G-C and A-T base pairs, in which the hydrogen atom of NH2 group of G or A base is abstracted by the ·OH-radical. The solvation around the base pairs stabilizes the dehydrogenated structures significantly, indicating the acceleration of the attacking reaction by ·OH-radical to the base pairs in water. Therefore, we conclude that the hydrogen atom of the NH2 group of G or A base in the G-C and A-T base pairs is the most preferably abstracted by the ·OH-radical in living cells.