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Interplay between Locally Excited and Charge Transfer States Governs the Photoswitching Mechanism in the Fluorescent Protein Dreiklang

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journal contribution
posted on 07.01.2021, 21:17 by Tirthendu Sen, Yingying Ma, Igor V. Polyakov, Bella L. Grigorenko, Alexander V. Nemukhin, Anna I. Krylov
We present the results of high-level electronic structure and dynamics simulations of the photoactive protein Dreiklang. With the goal of understanding the details of the Dreiklang photocycle, we carefully characterize the excited states of the ON- and OFF-forms of Dreiklang. The key finding of our study is the existence of a low-lying excited state of a charge-transfer character in the neutral ON form and that population of this state, which is nearly isoenergetic with the locally excited bright state, initiates a series of steps that ultimately lead to the formation of the hydrated dark chromophore (OFF state). These results allow us to refine the mechanistic picture of Dreiklang’s photocycle and photoactivation.