A semiempirical quantum model for hydrogen-bonded nucleic acid base pairs

Timothy J. Giese, Edward C. Sherer, Christopher J. Cramer, Darrin M. York

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


An exploratory semiempirical Hamiltonian (PM3BP) is developed to model hydrogen bonding in nucleic acid base pairs. The PM3BP Hamiltonian is a novel reparametrization of the PM3 Hamiltonian designed to reproduce experimental base pair dimer enthalpies and high-level density-functional results. The parametrization utilized a suite of integrated nonlinear optimization algorithms interfaced with a d-orbital semiempirical program. Results are compared with experimental values and with benchmark density-functional (mPWPW91/MIDI!) calculations for hydrogen-bonded nucleic acid dimers and trimers. The PM3BP Hamiltonian is demonstrated to outperform the AM1, PM3, MNDO, and MNDO/H Hamiltonians for dimer and trimer structures and interaction enthalpies and is shown to reproduce experimental dimer interaction enthalpies that rival density-functional results for an over 3 orders of magnitude reduction in computational cost. The tradeoff between a high accuracy gain for hydrogen bonding at the expense of sacrificing some generality is discussed. These results provide insight into the limits of conventional semiempirical forms for accurate modeling of biological interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1275-1285
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Chemical Theory and Computation
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2005


Dive into the research topics of 'A semiempirical quantum model for hydrogen-bonded nucleic acid base pairs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this