Tracking the origin of photostability in purine nucleobases: the photophysics of 2-oxopurine†
This work scrutinizes the relaxation mechanism of 2-oxopurine. Contrary to its ancestor, purine, which is a UVC chromophore, 2-oxopurine shows a red-shifted absorption spectrum centered in the UVA region. In 2-oxopurine, relaxation along the ππ* spectroscopic state directs the population from the Franck–Condon (FC) region towards a minimum, which acts as a crossroad for the further decay of the system either to triplet states or, alternatively, to the ground state through a C6-puckered S1/S0 funnel. A comparison of the optical properties and excited state potential energy surfaces of purine, 2-oxopurine, 2-aminopurine, 6-oxopurine and adenine, allows establishing how the position and nature of substituent tune the photophysics of purine. For this series, we conclude that both C2 and C6 substitution redshift the absorption spectrum of purine, with 2-oxo substitution exhibiting the largest shift. An important exception is the canonical nucleobase adenine, which presents a blue shifted absorption spectrum. The topography of purine's ππ* potential energy surface experiences major changes when functionalized at the C6 position. In particular, the disappearance of the minimum along the ππ* potential energy surface efficiently funnels the excited state population from the FC region to the ground state and increases the photostability of 6-aminopurine (adenine) and 6-oxopurine (hypoxanthine) nucleobases.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2019 PCCP HOT Articles