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. 2020 Feb 28;152(8):084114.
doi: 10.1063/1.5141858.

Modeling the Vibrational Couplings of Nucleobases

Free PMC article

Modeling the Vibrational Couplings of Nucleobases

Yaoyukun Jiang et al. J Chem Phys. .
Free PMC article


Vibrational spectroscopy, in particular infrared spectroscopy, has been widely used to probe the three-dimensional structures and conformational dynamics of nucleic acids. As commonly used chromophores, the C=O and C=C stretch modes in the nucleobases exhibit distinct spectral features for different base pairing and stacking configurations. To elucidate the origin of their structural sensitivity, in this work, we develop transition charge coupling (TCC) models that allow one to efficiently calculate the interactions or couplings between the C=O and C=C chromophores based on the geometric arrangements of the nucleobases. To evaluate their performances, we apply the TCC models to DNA and RNA oligonucleotides with a variety of secondary and tertiary structures and demonstrate that the predicted couplings are in quantitative agreement with the reference values. We further elucidate how the interactions between the paired and stacked bases give rise to characteristic IR absorption peaks and show that the TCC models provide more reliable predictions of the coupling constants as compared to the transition dipole coupling scheme. The TCC models, together with our recently developed through-bond coupling constants and vibrational frequency maps, provide an effective theoretical strategy to model the vibrational Hamiltonian, and hence the vibrational spectra of nucleic acids in the base carbonyl stretch region directly from atomistic molecular simulations.

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