Different deprotonation paths of the radical cation formed by one-electron oxidation of 2′-deoxyguanosine (2dG) sites in DNA have been studied using Density Functional Theory (M05-2X/6-31+G(d,p)) and ONIOM methodology (M05-2X/6-31+G(d,p):PM6) in conjunction with the SMD model to include the solvent effects. Models of increased complexity have been used ranging from the isolated nucleoside to a three unit double-stranded oligomer including the sugar units, the base pairing with cytidine, and the phosphate linkage. The reported results correspond to aqueous solution, at room temperature, and pH = 7.4. Under such conditions it was found that the proton transfer (PT) within the base pair is a minor path compared to the PT between the base pair and the surrounding water. It was also found that the deprotonation of ground-state 2dG˙+ sites mainly yields C centered radicals in the sugar unit, with the largest populations corresponding to C4′˙ and C5′˙, followed by C3′˙. The different aspects of the presented theoretical study have been validated with experimental results.
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