ABSTRACT: This study focuses on the first step of interaction between
DNA and the paddle-wheel dirhodium complex. The ammonia molecule
was used to model the oligonucleotide sequence. The reaction was
considered in neutral and acidic conditions, in gas phase, and in solvent,
using the COSMO model. Molecular structures of the complexes were
optimized in both models at the B3PW91/6-31G(d) level. The B3LYP
functional and aug-cc-pvdz basis set were employed for single-point
energy determination and electron distribution analyses. It was shown
that in neutral solution the replacement of axial aqua ligand is mildly
exoergic. The reaction is characterized by a relatively low activation barrier
(10-12 kcal/mol), and, according to Eyring transition state theory, it
proceeds very quickly. The breaking of the Rh-O(ac) bond in neutral solution is mildly endoergic (less than 1 kcal/mol) with an
activation barrier of about 21 kcal/mol. However, this process can occur much more spontaneously (ΔGof-14 kcal/mol) when the
dirhodium complex is protonated at the acetyl oxygen in remote position.