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Issue 7, 2007
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Excited states and energy transfer among DNA bases in double helices

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Abstract

The study of excited states and energy transfer in DNA double helices has recently gained new interest connected to the development of computational techniques and that of femtosecond spectroscopy. The present article points out contentious questions regarding the nature of the excited states and the occurrence of energy transfer and shows how they are currently approached. Using as example the polymer poly(dA)·poly(dT), composed of about 2000 adeninethymine pairs, a model is proposed on the basis of time-resolved measurements (fluorescence decays, fluorescence anisotropy decays and fluorescence spectra, obtained with femtosecond resolution), associated to steady-state spectra. According to this qualitative model, excitation at 267 nm populates excited states that are delocalized over a few bases (excitons). Ultrafast internal conversion directs the excited state population to the lower part of the exciton band giving rise to fluorescence. Questions needing further investigations, both theoretical and experimental, are underlined with particular emphasis on delicate points related to the complexity and the plasticity of these systems.

Graphical abstract: Excited states and energy transfer among DNA bases in double helices

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Publication details

The article was received on 16 Apr 2007, accepted on 03 May 2007 and first published on 22 May 2007


Article type: Perspective
DOI: 10.1039/B705674E
Citation: Photochem. Photobiol. Sci., 2007,6, 717-724
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    Excited states and energy transfer among DNA bases in double helices

    D. Markovitsi, T. Gustavsson and F. Talbot, Photochem. Photobiol. Sci., 2007, 6, 717
    DOI: 10.1039/B705674E

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