Chemical synthesis of isotopically labelled (M+4) purine nucleosides and their incorporation into DNA oligomers

  • Ruoling Guo

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Development of accurate and sensitive analytical methods to measure the level of biomarkers, such as 8-oxo-guanine or its corresponding nucleoside, 8-oxo-2’-deoxyguanosine, has become imperative in the study of DNA oxidative damage in vivo. Of the most promising techniques, HPLC-MS/MS, has many attractive advantages. Like any method that employs the MS technique, its accuracy depends on the use of multiply, isotopically-labelled internal standards. This project is aimed at making available such internal standards.
The first task was to synthesise the multiply, isotopically-labelled bases (M+4) guanine and (M+4) 8-oxo-guanine. Synthetic routes for both (M+4) guanine and (M+4) 8-oxo-guanine were designed and validated using the unlabelled compounds. The reaction conditions were also optimized during the “dry runs”. The amination of the 4-hydroxy-2,6-dichloropyrimidine, appeared to be very sensitive to the purity of the commercial [15]N benzylamine reagent. Having failed, after several attempts, to obtain the pure reagent from commercial suppliers, [15]N benzylamine was successfully synthesised in our laboratory and used in the first synthesis of (M+4) guanine.
Although (M+4) bases can be, and indeed have been used as internal standards in the quantitative analysis of oxidative damage, they can not account for the errors that may occur during the early sample preparation stages. Therefore, internal standards in the form of nucleosides and DNA oligomers are more desirable.
After evaluating a number of methods, an enzymatic transglycolization technique was adopted for the transfer of the labelled bases to give their corresponding nucleosides. Both (M+4) 2-deoxyguanosine and (M+4) 8-oxo-2’-deoxyguanosine can be purified on micro scale by HPLC. The challenge came from the purification of larger scale (>50 mg) synthesis of nucleosides. A gel filtration method was successfully developed, which resulted in excellent separation of (M+4) 2’-deoxyguanosine from the incubation mixture. The (M+4) 2’-deoxyguanosine was then fully protected in three steps and successfully incorporated, by solid supported synthesis, into a DNA oligomer containing 18 residues.
Thus, synthesis of 8-oxo-deoxyguanosine on a bigger scale for its future incorporation into DNA oligomers is now a possibility resulting from this thesis work. We believe that these internal standards can be used to develop procedures that can make the measurement of oxidative DNA damage more accurate and sensitive.
Date of AwardOct 2004
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorQinguo Zheng (Supervisor)


  • DNA oxidative damage
  • internal standards
  • 8-oxo-dG
  • isotopically labelled guanine
  • DNA oligonucleotide

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