• alkaline earth metals;
  • density functional calculations;
  • mass spectrometry;
  • transition metals;
  • uracil


Complexes formed between metal dications, the conjugate base of uracil, and uracil are investigated by sustained off-resonance irradiation collision-induced dissociation (SORI-CID) in a Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (FTICR) mass spectrometer. Positive-ion electrospray spectra show that [M(Ura−H)(Ura)]+ (M=Zn, Cu, Ni, Co, Fe, Mn, Cd, Pd, Mg, Ca, Sr, Ba, or Pb) is the most abundant ion even at low concentrations of uracil. SORI-CID experiments show that the main primary decomposition pathway for all [M(Ura−H)(Ura)]+, except where M=Ca, Sr, Ba, or Pb, is the loss of HNCO. Under the same SORI-CID conditions, when M is Ca, Sr, Ba, or Pb, [M(Ura−H)(Ura)]+ are shown to lose a molecule of uracil. Similar results were observed under infrared multiple-photon dissociation excitation conditions, except that [Ca(Ura−H)(Ura)]+ was found to lose HNCO as the primary fragmentation product. The binding energies between neutral uracil and [M(Ura−H)]+ (M=Zn, Cu, Ni, Fe, Cd, Pd ,Mg, Ca, Sr Ba, or Pb) are calculated by means of electronic-structure calculations. The differences in the uracil binding energies between complexes which lose uracil and those which lose HNCO are consistent with the experimentally observed differences in fragmentation pathways. A size dependence in the binding energies suggests that the interaction between uracil and [M(Ura−H)]+ is ion–dipole complexation and the experimental evidence presented supports this.