Structure and singly occupied molecular orbital analysis of anionic tautomers of guanine

Maciej Haranczyk, John Holliday, Peter Willett, Maciej Gutowski

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Recently, we reported the discovery of adiabatically bound anions of guanine that might be involved in the processes of DNA damage by low-energy electrons and in charge transfer through DNA. These anions correspond to some tautomers that have been ignored thus far. They were identified using a hybrid quantum mechanical-combinatorial approach in which an energy-based screening was performed on the library of 499 tautomers with their relative energies calculated with quantum chemistry methods. In the current study, we analyze the adiabatically bound anions of guanine in two aspects: (1) the geometries and excess electron distributions are analyzed and compared with anions of the most stable neutrals to identify the sources of stability; (2) the chemical space of guanine tautomers is explored to verify if these new tautomers are contained in a particular subspace of the tautomeric space. The first task involves the development of novel approaches-the quantum chemical data like electron density, orbital, and information on its bonding/antibonding character are coded into holograms and analyzed using chemoinformatics techniques. The second task is completed using substructure analysis and clustering techniques performed on molecules represented by 2D fingerprints. The major conclusion is that the high stability of adiabatically bound anions originates from the bonding character of the p orbital occupied by the excess electron. This compensates for the antibonding character that usually causes significant buckling of the ring. Also, the excess electron is more homogenously distributed over both rings than in the case of anions of the most stable neutral species. In terms of 2D substructure, the most stable anionic tautomers generally have additional hydrogen atoms at C8 and/or C2 and they do not have hydrogen atoms attached to C4, C5, and C6. They also form an "island of stability" in the tautomeric space of guanine. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1277-1291
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Computational Chemistry
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008


  • Anions of nucleic acid bases
  • Guanine
  • Substructural analysis
  • Tautomeric space
  • Tautomers


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