On the mechanism of anion desorption from DNA induced by low energy electrons

Ptasinska, Sylwia and Sanche, Leon (2006). On the mechanism of anion desorption from DNA induced by low energy electrons. Journal of Chemical Physics, 125(14) pp. 144713–1.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1063/1.2338320


Our knowledge of the mechanisms of radiation damage to DNA induced by secondary electrons is still very limited, mainly due to the large sizes of the system involved and the complexity of the interactions. To reduce the problem to its simplest form, we investigated specific electron interactions with one of the most simple model system of DNA, an oligonucleotide tetrameter compound of the four bases. We report anion desorption yields from a thin solid film of the oligonucleotide GCAT induced by the impact of 3–15 eV electrons. All observed anions (H–, O–, OH–, CN–, and OCN–) are produced by dissociative electron attachment to the molecule, which results in desorption peaks between 6 and 12 eV. Above 14 eV nonresonant dipolar dissociation dominates the desorption yields. By comparing the shapes and relative intensities of the anion yield functions from GCAT physisorbed on a tantalum substrate with those obtained from isolated DNA basic subunits (i.e., bases, deoxyribose, and phosphate groups) from either the gas phase or condensed phase experiments, it is possible to obtain more details on the mechanisms involved in low energy electron damage to DNA, particularly on those producing single strand breaks.

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