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This contribution describes molecular dynamics, semi-empirical and ab-initio studies of the primary photo-induced electron transfer reaction in DNA photolyase. DNA photolyases are FADH−-containing proteins that repair UV-damaged DNA by photo-induced electron transfer. A DNA photolyase recognizes and binds to cyclobutatne pyrimidine dimer lesions of DNA. The protein repairs a bound lesion by transferring an electron to the lesion from FADH−, upon photo-excitation of FADH− with 350–450 nm light. We compute the lowest singlet excited states of FADH− in DNA photolyase using INDO/S configuration interaction, time-dependent density-functional, and time-dependent Hartree-Fock methods. The calculations identify the lowest singlet excited state of FADH− that is populated after photo-excitation and that acts as the electron donor. For this donor state we compute conformationally-averaged tunneling matrix elements to empty electron- acceptor states of a thymine dimer bound to photolyase. The conformational averaging involves different FADH− - thymine dimer confromations obtained from molecular dynamics simulations of the solvated protein with a thymine dimer docked in its active site. The tunneling matrix element computations use INDO/S-level Green’s function, energy splitting, and Generalized Mulliken-Hush methods. These calculations indicate that photo-excitation of FADH− causes a π → π* charge-transfer transition that shifts electron density to the side of the flavin isoalloxazine ring that is adjacent to the docked thymine dimer. This shift in electron density enhances the FADH− - to - dimer electronic coupling, thus inducing rapid electron transfer.


This article was originally published in the American Institute of Physics Conference Proceedings, volume 963, in 2007. DOI: 10.1063/1.2836174


American Institute of Physics



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