Charge Migration in DNA: Ion-Gated Transport

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Science  19 Oct 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5542, pp. 567-571
DOI: 10.1126/science.1062864

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Electron hole (radical cation) migration in DNA, where the quantum transport of an injected charge is gated in a correlated manner by the thermal motions of the hydrated counterions, is described here. Classical molecular dynamics simulations in conjunction with large-scale first-principles electronic structure calculations reveal that different counterion configurations lead to formation of states characterized by varying spatial distributions and degrees of charge localization. Stochastic dynamic fluctuations between such ionic configurations can induce correlated changes in the spatial distribution of the hole, with concomitant transport along the DNA double helix. Comparative ultraviolet light–induced cleavage experiments on native B DNA oligomers and on ones modified to contain counterion (Na+)-starved bridges between damage-susceptible hole-trapping sites called GG steps show in the latter a reduction in damage at the distal step. This reduction indicates a reduced mobility of the hole across the modified bridge as predicted theoretically.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: uzi.landman{at} (U.L.); gary.schuster{at} (G.B.S.)

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