DNA/RNA synthesis precursors are especially vulnerable to damage induced by reactive oxygen species occurring following oxidative stress. Guanosine triphosphates are the prevalent oxidized nucleotides, which can be misincorporated during replication, leading to mutations and cell death. Here, we present a novel method based on micro-Raman spectroscopy, combined with ab initio calculations, for the identification, detection, and quantification of oxidized nucleotides at low concentration. We also show that the Raman signature in the terahertz spectral range (<100 cm-1) contains information on the intermolecular assembly of guanine in tetrads, which allows us to further boost the oxidative damage detection limit. Eventually, we provide evidence that similar analyses can be carried out on samples in very small volumes at very low concentrations by exploiting the high sensitivity of surface-enhanced Raman scattering combined with properly designed superhydrophobic substrates. These results pave the way for employing such advanced spectroscopic methods for quantitatively sensing the oxidative damage of nucleotides in the cell.
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