Solvation free energies of molecules. The most stable anionic tautomers of uracil

Maciej Haranczyk, Maciej Gutowski, Arieh Warshel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Anionic states of nucleic acid bases are suspected to play a role in the radiation damage processes of DNA. Our recent studies suggested that the excess electron attachment to the nucleic acid bases can stabilize some rare tautomers, i.e. imine-enamine tautomers and other tautomers with a proton being transferred from nitrogen sites to carbon sites (with respect to the canonical tautomer). So far, these new anionic tautomers have been characterized by the gas-phase electronic structure calculations and photoelectron spectroscopy experiments. In the current contribution we explore the effect of water solvation on the stability of the new anionic tautomers of uracil. The accurate free energies of solvation are calculated in a two step approach. The major contribution was calculated using the classical free-energy perturbation adiabatic-charging approach, where it is assumed that the solvated molecule has the charge distribution given by the polarizable continuum model. In the second step the free energy of solvation is refined by taking into account the real, average solvent charge distribution. This is done using our accelerated QM/MM simulations, where the QM energy of the solute is calculated in the mean potential averaged over many MD steps. We found that in water solution three of the recently identified anionic tautomers are 6.5-3.6 kcal mol-1 more stable than the anion of the canonical tautomer. © the Owner Societies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4442-4448
Number of pages7
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Issue number30
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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