Isosteric and fluorescent DNA base pair formed by 4-amino-phthalimide and 2,4-diaminopyrimidine: melting, structure, and THz polar solvation dynamics†
An artificial base pair in the center of a duplex DNA oligomer, formed by 2,4-diaminopyrimidine and fluorescent 4-aminophthalimide C-nucleosides, is characterized spectroscopically, with a view towards its use in femtosecond solvation dynamics. Quantum-chemical calculations predict H-bonding energy equivalent to A:T. UV-vis absorption spectra provide insight into local melting at the 4-aminophthalimide modification site. Increase of temperature to nearly the melting temperature of the duplex leads to better hybridisation of the fluorescent nucleoside, contrary to native base pairs. This unusual observation is explained by the NMR solution structure of the duplex. Two conformations are adopted by the artificial pair due to backbone constraints, having either two or one interbase hydrogen bonds. In the latter, hydrogen bonding sites remain accessible for water solvation. The time-resolved dynamic Stokes' shift of 4-aminophthalimide fluorescence is consistent with that of a mixture of a slow and fast species. From the observations, the optimal linkage between 4-aminophthalimide and 2-deoxyribose for fitting into the duplex B-DNA structure is deduced.