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Pure Appl. Chem., 2006, Vol. 78, No. 11, pp. 2003-2014

Tetranucleotides as a scaffold for diporphyrin arrays

Imenne Bouamaied1, Leslie-Anne Fendt1, Markus Wiesner1, Daniel Häussinger1, Nicolas Amiot1, Sandra Thöni1 and Eugen Stulz1,2

1 Department of Chemistry, University of Basel, St. Johanns-Ring 19, 4056 Basel, Switzerland
2 School of Chemistry, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK

Abstract: The incorporation of porphyrin-substituted nucleosides into tetranucleotides using phosphoramidite chemistry on solid support is reported. Both diphenyl and tetraphenyl porphyrin nucleosides were used as building blocks. This method allows the synthesis of chiral homo- and heteroporphyrinic arrays, where the composition and thus the physical properties of the array can be modulated simply by reprogramming the DNA synthesizer. The porphyrin arrays are initially isolated in the free-base form. Remetallation to give the zinc-porphyrins can be achieved using standard procedures in solution. The UV-vis spectra of the arrays are reproducible by a superposition of the absorbance spectra of the individual porphyrins, indicating an undisturbed electronic ground state of the porphyrins in the arrays. The same is true for the steady-state emission spectra of the homoporphyrinic arrays, which are not influenced by the presence of the nucleotide strand. In the mixed porphyrin arrays, large differences in the excited-state properties compared to an equimolar mixture of the building blocks are observed by means that the emission of the diphenyl porphyrin moiety is quenched to a large extent, and the overall emission is dominated by the tetraphenyl porphyrin. The covalent connection of the porphyrins via the DNA-derived backbone therefore substantially alters the excited-state and energy-transfer properties of mixed porphyrin systems. The circular dichroism (CD) spectra show induced negative cotton effects in the region of the porphyrin B-band absorption, which is due to the attachment of the chromophores to the chiral oligonucleotide backbone. Addition of a complementary tetra-adenosine did not alter any of the spectroscopic properties, neither in chloroform nor in acetonitrile solutions. Therefore, it can be concluded that no duplex is formed, which is corroborated by 1H NMR spectroscopy.