, Volume 10, Issue 8, pp 854-866
Date: 14 Oct 2005

Binding of transition metal complexes to guanine and guanine–cytosine: hydrogen bonding and covalent effects

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Abstract

Density functional calculations and Atoms in Molecules analysis are used to investigate the role of covalent and hydrogen bondings in determining the binding of transition metal complexes to guanine, and the subsequent effect on pairing with cytosine. Hydrogen bonding is ubiquitous, and typically contributes ca. 10% to overall binding, a value that varies with the coordination site on guanine, as well as metal and ligands. Early transition metals show a clear preference for the O6 position, while later ones prefer N7, the crossover point coming at the vanadium group. Metallation at N7 causes a redistribution of hydrogen bonding strength between guanine and cytosine, but does not greatly affect the overall pairing energy. In contrast, metallation at O6 strongly reduces the pairing energy, as may be expected given the role of O6 in pairing guanine with cytosine. This effect can be quantified using electron density properties, and seems to be due to both electrostatic repulsion from the positive metal centre and a redistribution of electron density within guanine itself. Qualitative agreement with experimental mass spectroscopic results is obtained.