American Chemical Society
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Ultrafast Transient Infrared Spectroscopy of Photoreceptors with Polarizable QM/MM Dynamics

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-09-03, 09:44 authored by Veronica Macaluso, Shaima Hashem, Michele Nottoli, Filippo Lipparini, Lorenzo Cupellini, Benedetta Mennucci
Ultrafast transient infrared (TRIR) spectroscopy is widely used to measure the excitation-induced structural changes of protein-bound chromophores. Here, we design a novel and general strategy to compute TRIR spectra of photoreceptors by combining μs-long MM molecular dynamics with ps-long QM/AMOEBA Born–Oppenheimer molecular dynamics (BOMD) trajectories for both ground and excited electronic states. As a proof of concept, the strategy is here applied to AppA, a blue-light-utilizing flavin (BLUF) protein, found in bacteria. We first analyzed the short-time evolution of the embedded flavin upon excitation revealing that its dynamic Stokes shift is ultrafast and mainly driven by the internal reorganization of the chromophore. A different normal-mode representation was needed to describe ground- and excited-state IR spectra. In this way, we could assign all of the bands observed in the measured transient spectrum. In particular, we could characterize the flavin isoalloxazine-ring region of the spectrum, for which a full and clear description was missing.