Structural and Energetic Impact of Non-natural 7-Deaza-8-azaguanine, 7-Deaza-8-azaisoguanine, and Their 7-Substituted Derivatives on Hydrogen-Bond Pairing with Cytosine and Isocytosine

by Mohit Chawla, Yury Minenkov, Khanh B Vu, Romina Oliva, Luigi Cavallo
Year: 2019 DOI:

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The impact of 7-deaza-8-azaguanine (DAG) and 7-deaza-8-azaisoguanine (DAiG) modifications on the geometry and stability of the G:C Watson–Crick (cWW) base pair and the G:iC and iG:C reverse Watson–Crick (tWW) base pairs has been characterized theoretically. In addition, the effect on the same base pairs of seven C7-substituted DAG and DAiG derivatives, some of which have been previously experimentally characterized, has been investigated. Calculations indicate that all of these modifications have a negligible impact on the geometry of the above base pairs, and that modification of the heterocycle skeleton has a small impact on the base-pair interaction energies. Instead, base-pair interaction energies are dependent on the nature of the C7 substituent. For the 7-substituted DAG-C cWW systems, a linear correlation between the base-pair interaction energy and the Hammett constant of the 7-substituent is found, with higher interaction energies corresponding to more electron-withdrawing substituents. Therefore, the explored modifications are expected to be accommodated in both parallel and antiparallel nucleic acid duplexes without perturbing their geometry, while the strength of a base pair (and duplex) featuring a DAG modification can, in principle, be tuned by incorporating different substituents at the C7 position.