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Ultrafast Protein Response in Channelrhodopsin‑2 Studied by Time-Resolved Infrared Spectroscopy

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journal contribution
posted on 11.12.2018, 00:00 by Elena Bühl, Peter Eberhardt, Christian Bamann, Ernst Bamberg, Markus Braun, Josef Wachtveitl
Ultrafast infrared transient absorption in the carbonyl vibrational region of protonated aspartate and glutamate residues in channelrhodopsin-2 from Chlamydomonas reinhardtii shows immediate protein response to retinal excitation. The observed difference bands are formed directly after the excitation on the subpicosecond time scale and were assigned to side chains in the retinal vicinity, such as D156 and E90. This finding implies an ultrafast and effective energy transfer from the retinal to its environment via hydrogen-bonded networks and reveals extraordinarily strong chromophore–protein coupling and intense interaction within the protein. Relevance to the protein function as an optically gated ion channel is discussed.