Non-identical electronic characters of the internucleotidic phosphates in RNA modulate the chemical reactivity of the phosphodiester bonds
2006 (English)In: Organic and biomolecular chemistry, ISSN 1477-0520, E-ISSN 1477-0539, Vol. 4, no 5, 928-941 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
We here show that the electronic properties and the chemical reactivities of the internucleotidic phosphates in the heptameric ssRNAs are dissimilar in a sequence-specific manner because of their non-identical microenvironments, in contrast with the corresponding isosequential ssDNAs. This has been evidenced by monitoring the delta H8(G) shifts upon pH-dependent ionization (pK(a1)) of the central 9-guaninyl (G) to the 9-guanylate ion (G(-)), and its electrostatic effect on each of the internucleotidic phosphate anions, as measured from the resultant delta P-31 shifts (pKa(2)) in the isosequential heptameric ssRNAs vis-`a-vis ssDNAs: [d/r( 5'-Cp(1)Ap(2)Q(1)p(3)Gp(4)Q(2)p(5)Ap(6)C-3'): Q(1) = Q(2) = A (5a/5b) or C (8a/8b), Q(1) = A, Q(2) = C (6a/6b), Q(1) = C, Q(2) = A (7a/7b)]. These oligos with single ionizable G in the centre are chosen because of the fact that the pseudoaromatic character of G can be easily modulated in a pH-dependent manner by its transformation to G(-) (the 2'-OH to 2-O- ionization effect is not detectable below pH 11.6 as evident from the N1-Me-G analog), thereby modulating/titrating the nature of the electrostatic interactions of G to G- with the phosphates, which therefore constitute simple models to interrogate how the variable pseudoaromatic characters of nucleobases under different sequence context (J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2004, 126, 8674-8681) can actually influence the reactivity of the internucleotide phosphates as a result of modulation of sequence context-specific electrostatic interactions. In order to better understand the impact of the electrostatic effect of the G to G- on the tunability of the electronic character of internucleotidic phosphates in the heptameric ssRNAs 5b, 6b, 7b and 8b, we have also performed their alkaline hydrolysis at pH 12.5 at 20 degrees C, and have identified the preferences of the cleavage sites at various phosphates, which are p(2), p(3) and p(4) (Fig. 3). The results of these alkaline hydrolysis studies have been compared with the hydrolysis of analogous N1-Me-G heptameric ssRNA sequences 5c, 7c and 8c under identical conditions in order to establish the role of the electrostatic effect of the 9-guanylate ion (and the 2'-OH to 2-O- ionization) on the internucleotidic phosphate. It turned out that the relative alkaline hydrolysis rate at those particular phosphates ( p2, p3 and p(4)) in the N1-Me-G heptamers was reduced from 16-78% compared to those in the native counterparts [Fig. 4, and ESI 2 (Fig. S11)]. Thus, these physico-chemical studies have shown that those p2, p3 and p4 phosphates in the native heptameric RNAs, which show pK(a2) as well as more deshielding ( owing to weaker P-31 screening) in the alkaline pH compared to those at the neutral pH, are more prone to the alkaline hydrolysis because of their relatively enhanced electrophilic character resulting from weaker P-31 screening. This screening effect originates as a result of the systematic charge repulsion effect between the electron cloud in the outermost orbitals of phosphorus and the central guanylate ion, leading to delocalization of the phosphorus pp charge into its d pi orbitals. It is thus likely that, just as in the non-enzymatic hydrolysis, the enzymatic hydrolysis of a specific phosphate in RNA by general base-catalyss in RNA-cleaving proteins (RNase A, RNA phosphodiesterase or nuclease) can potentially be electrostatically influenced by tuning the transient charge on the nucleobase in the steric proximity or as a result of specific sequence context owing to nearest-neighbor interactions.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 4, no 5, 928-941 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-96322DOI: 10.1039/B516733GISI: 000235992700023OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-96322DiVA: diva2:170859