Document Type




First Advisor's Name

Stanislaw Wnuk

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Kathleen Rein

Third Advisor's Name

Jose Almirall

Fourth Advisor's Name

Bruce McCord

Fifth Advisor's Name

DeEtta Mills


nitrogen-centered radical, ribonucleotide reductases, 2'-azido-2'-deoxynucletides, alkyl azide, alkyl thiyl radical, one-electron attachment

Date of Defense



Ribonucleotide reductases (RNR) are essential enzymes that catalyze the reduction of ribonucleotides to 2'-deoxyribonucleotides, which is a critical step that produces precursors for DNA replication and repair. The inactivation of RNR, logically, would discontinue producing the precursors of the DNA of viral or cancer cells, which then would consequently end the cycle of DNA replication. Among different compounds that were found to be inhibitors of RNR, 2'-azido-2'-deoxynucleotide diphosphates (N3NDPs) have been investigated in depth as potent inhibitors of RNR. Decades of investigation has suggested that the inactivation of RNR by N3NDPs is a result of the formation of a nitrogen-centered radical (N•) that is covalently attached to the nucleotide at C3' and cysteine molecule C225 [3'-C(R-S-N•-C-OH)]. Biomimetic simulation reactions for the generation of the nitrogen-centered radicals similar to the one observed during the inactivation of the RNR by azionuclotides was investigated. The study included several modes: (i) theoretical calculation that showed the feasibility of the ring closure reaction between thiyl radicals and azido group; (ii) synthesis of the model azido nucleosides with a linker attached to C3' or C5' having a thiol or vicinal dithiol functionality; (iii) generation of the thiyl radical under both physiological and radiolysis conditions whose role is important in the initiation on RNR cascades; and (iv) analysis of the nitrogen-centered radical species formed during interaction between the thiyl radical and azido group by electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy (EPR). Characterization of the aminyl radical species formed during one electron attachment to the azido group of 2'-azido-2'-deoxyuridine and its stereospecifically labelled 1'-, 2'-, 3'-, 4'- or 5,6-[2H2]-analogues was also examined. This dissertation gave insight toward understanding the mechanism of the formation of the nitrogen-centered radical during the inactivation of RNRs by azidonucleotides as well as the mechanism of action of RNRs that might provide key information necessary for the development of the next generation of antiviral and anticancer drugs.





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