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Glassy Protein Dynamics and Gigantic Solvent Reorganization Energy of Plastocyanin

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journal contribution
posted on 24.04.2008, 00:00 by David N. LeBard, Dmitry V. Matyushov
We report the results of molecular dynamics simulations of electron-transfer activation parameters of plastocyanin metalloprotein involved as an electron carrier in natural photosynthesis. We have discovered that slow, non-ergodic conformational fluctuations of the protein, coupled to hydrating water, result in a very broad distribution of donor−acceptor energy gaps far exceeding those observed for commonly studied inorganic and organic donor−acceptor complexes. The Stokes shift is not affected by these fluctuations and can be calculated from solvation models in terms of the linear response of the solvent dipolar polarization. The non-ergodic character of large-amplitude protein/water mobility breaks the strong link between the Stokes shift and the reorganization energy characteristic of equilibrium (ergodic) theories of electron transfer. This mechanism might be responsible for fast electronic transitions in natural electron-transfer proteins characterized by low reaction free energy.