Silver(I)-mediated base pairing in parallel-stranded DNA involving the luminescent cytosine analog 1,3-diaza-2-oxophenoxazine.
1,3-Diaza-2-oxophenoxazine (X) has been introduced as a ligand in silver(I)-mediated base pairing in a parallel DNA duplex. This fluorescent cytosine analog is capable of forming stabilizing X-Ag(I)-X and X-Ag(I)-C base pairs in DNA duplexes, as confirmed by temperature-dependent UV spectroscopy and luminescence spectroscopy. DFT calculations of the silver(I)-mediated base pairs suggest the presence of a synergistic hydrogen bond. Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of entire DNA duplexes nicely underline the geometrical flexibility of these base pairs, with the synergistic hydrogen bond facing either the major or the minor groove. Upon silver(I) binding to the X:X or X:C base pairs, the luminescence emission maximum experiences a red shift from 448 to 460 nm upon excitation at 370 nm. Importantly, the luminescence of the 1,3-diaza-2-oxophenoxazine ligand is not quenched significantly upon binding a silver(I) ion. In fact, the luminescence intensity even increases upon formation of a X-Ag(I)-C base pair, which is expected to be beneficial for the development of biosensors. As a consequence, the silver(I)-mediated phenoxazinone base pairs represent the first strongly fluorescent metal-mediated base pairs.