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Chromophore Dynamics in the PYP Photocycle from Femtosecond Stimulated Raman Spectroscopy

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journal contribution
posted on 23.01.2014, 00:00 by Mark Creelman, Masato Kumauchi, Wouter D. Hoff, Richard A. Mathies
Femtosecond stimulated Raman spectroscopy (FSRS) is used to examine the structural dynamics of the para-hydroxycinnamic acid (HCA) chromophore during the first 300 ps of the photoactive yellow protein (PYP) photocycle, as the system transitions from its vertically excited state to the early ground state cis intermediate, I0. A downshift in both the C7C8 and C1O stretches upon photoexcitation reveals that the chromophore has shifted to an increasingly quinonic form in the excited state, indicating a charge shift from the phenolate moiety toward the C9O carbonyl, which continues to increase for 170 fs. In addition, there is a downshift in the C9O carbonyl out-of-plane vibration on an 800 fs time scale as PYP transitions from its excited state to I0, indicating that weakening of the hydrogen bond with Cys69 and out-of-plane rotation of the C9O carbonyl are key steps leading to photoproduct formation. HOOP intensity increases on a 3 ps time scale during the formation of I0, signifying distortion about the C7C8 bond. Once on the I0 surface, the C7C8 and C1O stretches blue shift, indicating recovery of charge to the phenolate, while persistent intensity in the HOOP and carbonyl out-of-plane modes reveal HCA to be a cissoid structure with significant distortion about the C7C8 bond and of C9O out of the molecular plane.