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The influence of base pair tautomerism on single point mutations in aqueous DNA

Gheorghiu, A; Coveney, PV; Arabi, AA; (2020) The influence of base pair tautomerism on single point mutations in aqueous DNA. Interface Focus , 10 (6) , Article 20190120. 10.1098/rsfs.2019.0120. Green open access

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Abstract

The relationship between base pair hydrogen bond proton transfer and the rate of spontaneous single point mutations at ambient temperatures and pressures in aqueous DNA is investigated. By using an ensemble-based multiscale computational modelling method, statistically robust rates of proton transfer for the A:T and G:C base pairs within a solvated DNA dodecamer are calculated. Several different proton transfer pathways are observed within the same base pair. It is shown that, in G:C, the double proton transfer tautomer is preferred, while the single proton transfer process is favoured in A:T. The reported range of rate coefficients for double proton transfer is consistent with recent experimental data. Notwithstanding the approximately 1000 times more common presence of single proton transfer products from A:T, observationally there is bias towards G:C to A:T mutations in a wide range of living organisms. We infer that the double proton transfer reactions between G:C base pairs have a negligible contribution towards this bias for the following reasons: (i) the maximum half-life of the G*:C* tautomer is in the range of picoseconds, which is significantly smaller than the milliseconds it takes for DNA to unwind during replication, (ii) statistically, the majority of G*:C* tautomers revert back to their canonical forms through a barrierless process, and (iii) the thermodynamic instability of the tautomers with respect to the canonical base pairs. Through similar reasoning, we also deduce that proton transfer in the A:T base pair does not contribute to single point mutations in DNA.

Type: Article
Title: The influence of base pair tautomerism on single point mutations in aqueous DNA
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1098/rsfs.2019.0120
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1098/rsfs.2019.0120
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: high-performance computing, DNA mutation, proton transfer, multiscale modelling
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Chemistry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10113646
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