Intermolecular enol tautomers of Watson-Crick base pairs could emerge spontaneously via interbase double proton transfer. It has been hypothesized that their formation could be facilitated by thermal fluctuations and proton tunneling, and possibly be relevant to DNA damage. Theoretical and computational studies, assuming classical nuclei, have confirmed the dynamic stability of these rare tautomers. However, by accounting for nuclear quantum effects explicitly through Car-Parrinello path integral molecular dynamics calculations, we find the tautomeric enol form to be dynamically metastable, with lifetimes too insignificant to be implicated in DNA damage.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry