Modern Computational Physical Chemistry : An Introduction to Biomolecular Radiation Damage and Phototoxicity

Abstract: The realm of molecular physical chemistry ranges from the structure of matter and the fundamental atomic and molecular interactions to the macroscopic properties and processes arising from the average microscopic behaviour.Herein, the conventional electrodic problem is recast into the simpler molecular problem of finding the electrochemical, real chemical, and chemical potentials of the species involved in redox half-reactions. This molecular approach is followed to define the three types of absolute chemical potentials of species in solution and to estimate their standard values. This is achieved by applying the scaling laws of statistical mechanics to the collective behaviour of atoms and molecules, whose motion, interactions, and properties are described by first principles quantum chemistry. For atomic and molecular species, calculation of these quantities is within the computational implementations of wave function, density functional, and self-consistent reaction field theories. Since electrons and nuclei are the elementary particles in the realm of chemistry, an internally consistent set of absolute standard values within chemical accuracy is supplied for all three chemical potentials of electrons and protons in aqueous solution. As a result, problems in referencing chemical data are circumvented, and a uniform thermochemical treatment of electron, proton, and proton-coupled electron transfer reactions in solution is enabled.The formalism is applied to the primary and secondary radiation damage to DNA bases, e.g., absorption of UV light to yield electronically excited states, formation of radical ions, and transformation of nucleobases into mutagenic lesions as OH radical adducts and 8-oxoguanine. Based on serine phosphate as a model compound, some insight into the direct DNA strand break mechanism is given.Psoralens, also called furocoumarins, are a family of sensitizers exhibiting cytostatic and photodynamic actions, and hence, they are used in photochemotherapy. Molecular design of more efficient photosensitizers can contribute to enhance the photophysical and photochemical properties of psoralens and to reduce the phototoxic reactions. The mechanisms of photosensitization of furocoumarins connected to their dark toxicity are examined quantum chemically.