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Proton Transfer from a Photoacid to Water: First Principles Simulations and Fast Fluorescence SpectroscopyShea ; Joan-Emma (Ed.)Proton transfer reactions are ubiquitous in chemistry, especially in aqueous solutions. We investigate photo-induced proton transfer between the photoacid 8-hydroxypyrene-1,3,6-trisulfonate (HPTS) and water using fast fluorescence spectroscopy and ab initio molecular dynamics simulations. Photo-excitation causes rapid proton release from the HPTS hydroxyl. Previous experiments on HPTS/water described the progress from photoexcitation to proton diffusion using kinetic equations with two time constants. The shortest time constant has been interpreted as protonated and photoexcited HPTS evolving into an “associated” state, where the proton is “shared” between the HPTS hydroxyl and an originally hydrogen bonded water. The longer time constant has been interpreted as indicating evolution to a “solvent separated” state where the shared proton undergoes long distance diffusion. In this work, we refine the previous experimental results using very pure HPTS. We then use excited state ab initio molecular dynamics to elucidate the detailed molecular mechanism of aqueous excited state proton transfer in HPTS. We find that the initial excitation results in rapid rearrangement of water, forming a strong hydrogen bonded network (a “water wire”) around HPTS. HPTS then deprotonates in ≤3 ps, resulting in a proton that migrates back and forth along the wire before localizing on a single water molecule.more »
Computational investigations of selected enzymes from two iron and α-ketoglutarate-dependent familiesDNA alkylation is used as the key epigenetic mark in eukaryotes, however, most alkylation in DNA can result in deleterious effects. Therefore, this process needs to be tightly regulated. The enzymes of the AlkB and Ten-Eleven Translocation (TET) families are members of the Fe and alpha-ketoglutarate-dependent superfamily of enzymes that are tasked with dealkylating DNA and RNA in cells. Members of these families span all species and are an integral part of transcriptional regulation. While both families catalyze oxidative dealkylation of various bases, each has specific preference for alkylated base type as well as distinct catalytic mechanisms. This perspective aims to provide an overview of computational work carried out to investigate several members of these enzyme families including AlkB, ALKB Homolog 2, ALKB Homolog 3 and Ten-Eleven Translocate 2. Insights into structural details, mutagenesis studies, reaction path analysis, electronic structure features in the active site, and substrate preferences are presented and discussed.