Conformational studies of depurinating DNA adducts from syn-dibenzo[a,l]pyrene diolepoxide

F. Ariese, Gerald J. Small, R. Jankowiak*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


One of the major DNA adducts from the extremely potent aromatic carcinogen dibenzo[a,l]pyrene (DB[a,l]P) is the depurinating adduct syn-DB[a,l]P diolepoxide-14-N7Ade. Low-temperature fluorescence spectra of this adduct (and related derivatives bound to N3-adenine and N7-guanine) showed two distinct (0,0) origin bands with different excited-state vibrational frequencies, as measured by means of fluorescence line narrowing spectroscopy. The relative intensity of the two origin bands was solvent dependent. The hypothesis that this phenomenon could be due to a conformational equilibrium was tested using molecular mechanics, dynamical simulations and semi-empirical quantum-mechanical calculations. The hydrolyzed metabolite DB[a,l]P tetraol was also studied for comparison. It was found that the syn-DB[a,l]P diolepoxide-14-N7Ade adduct is formed via trails addition to the epoxide. Exploration of the conformational space indeed produced two potential energy minima; both corresponding to structures in which the aromatic ring system is severely distorted. In conformation I the proximity of the distal ring forces the adenine base into a pseudo-axial position and the cyclohexenyl ring adopts a half-boat structure. In conformation II the distal ring is bent in the opposite direction, allowing the cyclohexenyl ring to adopt a half-chair structure with the base in a pseudo-equatorial position, partially stacked over the distal ring. The difference in (0,0) transition energy calculated for the two conformers agrees very well with the spectroscopic data, and the relative orientations of the hydrogens hound to the cyclohexenyl ring in the major (half-boat) conformation I are in full agreement with the experimentally observed proton NMR coupling constants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)829-837
Number of pages9
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1996


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