Efficiency of [2 + 2] photodimerization of various stilbene derivatives within the DNA duplex scaffold†
A DNA duplex was used as a scaffold to evaluate the intrinsic reactivity of [2 + 2] photodimerization between stilbene derivatives; the duplex pre-organizes the substrates avoiding the need for an association step. Unmodified stilbenes were first introduced at base-pairing positions on complementary DNA strands. The duplex was then irradiated with 340 nm UV light. HPLC analyses revealed that [2 + 2] photodimerization proceeded rapidly without side reactions. Thus, it was confirmed that the DNA duplex could be used as an ideal scaffold for [2 + 2] photodimerization of stilbenes. Next, we examined homo-photodimerization abilities of various stilbene derivatives. Homo-photodimerization of p-cyanostilbene, p-methylstilbazolium, and p-stilbazole occurred efficiently, whereas homo-photodimerization of p-dimethylaminostilbene and p-nitrostilbene did not proceed at all, probably because the reaction was quenched by dimethylamino and nitro groups. Time-dependent density functional theory calculations revealed that excitation energy was correlated with quantum yield. We further investigated hetero-photodimerization. These reactions were made possible by the use of two complementary oligodeoxyribonucleotides tethering different stilbene derivatives. Reactivities in hetero-photodimerization were highly dependent on the combination of derivatives. A high correlation was observed between the quantum yields and energy gaps of HOMO and LUMO between reactive derivatives. Unexpectedly, nitrostilbene, which was non-reactive in homo-photodimerization, cross-reacted with p-methylstilbazolium and p-stilbazole, both of which had close HOMO or LUMO with nitrostilbene. Evaluation of the intrinsic reactivity of homo- and hetero-photodimerization of stilbene derivatives was made possible by the use of DNA as a scaffold.