What Hinders Electron Transfer Dissociation (ETD) of DNA Cations?

Hari, Yvonne Ilona; Leumann, Christian; Schürch, Stefan (2017). What Hinders Electron Transfer Dissociation (ETD) of DNA Cations? Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry, 28(12), pp. 2677-2685. Springer 10.1007/s13361-017-1791-z

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Radical activation methods, such as electron transfer dissociation (ETD), produce structural information complementary to collision-induced dissociation. Herein, electron transfer dissociation of 3-fold protonated DNA hexamers was studied to gain insight into the fragmentation mechanism. The fragmentation patterns of a large set of DNA hexamers confirm cytosine as the primary target of electron transfer. The reported data reveal backbone cleavage by internal electron transfer from the nucleobase to the phosphate linker leading either to a•/w or d/z• ion pairs. This reaction pathway contrasts with previous findings on the dissociation processes after electron capture by DNA cations, suggesting multiple, parallel dissociation channels. However, all these channels merely result in partial fragmentation of the precursor ion because the charge-reduced DNA radical cations are quite stable. Two hypotheses are put forward to explain the low dissociation yield of DNA radical cations: it is either attributed to non-covalent interactions between complementary fragments or to the stabilization of the unpaired electron in stacked nucleobases. MS3 experiments suggest that the charge-reduced species is the intact oligonucleotide. Moreover, introducing abasic sites significantly increases the dissociation yield of DNA cations. Consequently, the stabilization of the unpaired electron by π-π-stacking provides an appropriate rationale for the high intensity of DNA radical cations after electron transfer.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences (DCBP)

UniBE Contributor:

Hari, Yvonne Ilona, Leumann, Christian, Schürch, Stefan


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 540 Chemistry
500 Science








Stefan Schürch

Date Deposited:

17 Apr 2018 07:23

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:11

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