A1 Journal article – refereed
Stabilisation of the transition state of phosphodiester bond cleavage within linear single-stranded oligoribonucleotides

List of Authors: Kaukinen U, Lonnberg H, Perakyla M
Publication year: 2004
Journal: Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry
Journal acronym: ORG BIOMOL CHEM
Volume number: 2
Issue number: 1
ISSN: 1477-0520

The effect of base sequence on the stability of the transition state (TS) of phosphodiester bond cleavage within linear single-stranded oligoribonucleotides has been studied in order to better understand why the reactivity of some phosphodiester bonds is enhanced compared to an unconstrained linkage. Molecular dynamics simulations of 3.0 ns were carried out for 14 oligonucleotides that contain in the place of the scissile phosphodiester bond a phosphorane structure mimicking the TS of the bond cleavage. The hydrolytic stability of the same oligonucleotides had previously been reported. Both the non-bridging oxyanions and the leaving 5'-oxygen of the pentacoordinated phosphorane moiety were observed to form hydrogen bonds with solvent water molecules in a similar way with all the compounds studied. In addition, water mediated hydrogen bonds between the phosphorane non-bridging oxyanions and the bases of the 3'-flanking sequence were detected with some of the compounds, but not with the most labile ones. Hence, it seems that the enhanced cleavage of some internucleosidic linkages does not result from the TS stabilisation by hydrogen bonding. With heterooligomers, the stacking of bases next to the cleavage site was observed to be enhanced on going from the initial state to the TS, whereas within uracil homooligomer, having initially negligible stacking, no change in the magnitude of stacking was seen. Accordingly, while strong stacking in the initial state is known to retard the phosphodiester bond cleavage, it may in the TS accelerate the reaction. Therefore, enhanced stacking on going from the initial state to transition state appears to be a factor that markedly contributes to the hydrolytic stability of phosphodiester bonds within oligonucleotides and may, at least partly, explain accelerated cleavage compared to fully unconstrained bonds, such as those in polyuridylic acid.

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