Early events of DNA photodamage
Annu. Rev. Phys. Chem., 66 (2015), 497-519
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a leading external hazard to the integrity of DNA. Exposure to UV radiation triggers a cascade of chemical reactions, and many molecular products (photolesions) have been isolated that are potentially dangerous for the cellular system. The early steps that take place after UV absorption by DNA have been studied by ultrafast spectroscopy. The review focuses on the evolution of excited electronic states, the formation of photolesions, and processes suppressing their formation. Emphasis is placed on lesions involving two thymine bases, such as the cyclobutane pyrimidine dimer, the (6-4) lesion, and its Dewar valence isomer.