Lifetimes and reaction pathways of guanine radical cations and neutral guanine radicals in an oligonucleotide in aqueous solutions

Yekaterina Rokhlenko, Nicholas E. Geacintov, Vladimir Shafirovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The exposure of guanine in the oligonucleotide 5'-d(TCGCT) to one-electron oxidants leads initially to the formation of the guanine radical cation G ̇+, its deptotonation product G(-H) ̇, and, ultimately, various two- and four-electron oxidation products via pathways that depend on the oxidants and reaction conditions. We utilized single or successive multiple laser pulses (308 nm, 1 Hz rate) to generate the oxidants CO 3 ̇- and SO 4 ̇- (via the photolysis of S 2O 8 2- in aqueous solutions in the presence and absence of bicarbonate, respectively) at concentrations/pulse that were ∼20-fold lower than the concentration of 5'-d(TCGCT). Time-resolved absorption spectroscopy measurements following single-pulse excitation show that the G ̇+ radical (pK a = 3.9) can be observed only at low pH and is hydrated within 3 ms at pH 2.5, thus forming the two-electron oxidation product 8-oxo-7,8-dihydroguanosine (8-oxoG). At neutral pH, and single pulse excitation, the principal reactive intermediate is G(-H) ̇, which, at best, reacts only slowly with H 2O and lives for ∼70 ms in the absence of oxidants/other radicals to form base sequence-dependent intrastrand cross-links via the nucleophilic addition of N3-thymidine to C8-guanine (5'-G*CT* and 5'-T*CG*). Alternatively, G(-H) ̇ can be oxidized further by reaction with CO 3 ̇-, generating the two-electron oxidation products 8-oxoG (C8 addition) and 5-carboxamido-5-formamido-2-iminohydantoin (2Ih, by C5 addition). The four-electron oxidation products, guanidinohydantoin (Gh) and spiroiminodihydantoin (Sp), appear only after a second (or more) laser pulse. The levels of all products, except 8-oxoG, which remains at a low constant value, increase with the number of laser pulses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4955-4962
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number10
StatePublished - Mar 14 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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