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    Cyclobutane pyrimidine dimer (CPD) is a photoproduct formed by two stacked pyrimidine bases through a cycloaddition reaction upon irradiation. Owing to its close association with skin cancer, the mechanism of CPD formation has been studied thoroughly. Among many aspects of CPD, its formation involving 5-methylcytosine (5mC) has been of special interest because the CPD yield is known to increase with C5-methylation of cytosine. In this work, high-level quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) calculations are used to examine a previously experimentally detected pathway for CPD formation in hetero (thymine-cytosine and thymine-5mC) dipyrimidines, which is facilitated through intersystem crossing in thymine and formation of a triplet biradical intermediate. A DNA duplex model system containing a core sequence TmCG or TCG is used. The stabilization of a radical center in the biradical intermediate by the methyl group of 5mC can lead to increased CPD yield in TmCG compared with its non-methylated counterpart, TCG, thereby suggesting the existence of a new pathway of CPD formation enhanced by 5mC. © 2020 Wiley-VCH GmbH.


    Wook Lee, Spiridoula Matsika. Stabilization of the Triplet Biradical Intermediate of 5-Methylcytosine Enhances Cyclobutane Pyrimidine Dimer (CPD) Formation in DNA. Chemistry (Weinheim an der Bergstrasse, Germany). 2020 Nov 06;26(62):14181-14186

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    PMID: 32809239

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