Electron Transfer Between Bases in Double Helical DNA

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Science  15 Jan 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5400, pp. 375-381
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5400.375

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Fluorescent analogs of adenine that selectively oxidize guanine were used to investigate photoinduced electron transfer through the DNA π-stack as a function of reactant stacking and energetics. Small variations in these factors led to profound changes in the kinetics and distance dependences of DNA-mediated electron-transfer reactions. Values of β, a parameter reflecting the dependence of electron transfer on distance, ranged from 0.1 to 1.0 per angstrom. Strong stacking interactions result in the fastest electron-transfer kinetics. Electrons are thus transported preferentially through an intrastrand rather than interstrand pathway. Reactant energetics also modulate the distance dependence of DNA-mediated charge transport. These studies may resolve the range of disparate results previously reported, and paradigms must now be developed to describe these properties of the DNA π-stack, which can range from insulator- to “wire”-like.

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