100 fs photo-isomerization with vibrational coherences but low quantum yield in Anabaena Sensory Rhodopsin
Anabaena Sensory Rhodopsin (ASR) stands out among the microbial retinal proteins in that, under light-adaptation (LA) conditions, it binds both the 13-cis isomer and the all-trans isomer of the protonated Schiff base of retinal (PSBR). In the dark-adapted (DA) state, more than 95% of the proteins bear all-trans PSBR, and the protein environment adopts a different equilibrium state. We report the excited state and photo-isomerization kinetics of ASR under different LA conditions. The full data set allows confirming that the photoisomerization of the 13C isomer occurs within 100 fs and indications of an excited and ground state wavepacket launched by the ultrafast non-adiabatic reaction are reported. Even though this recalls the record isomerization time and the coherent reaction scenario of 11-cis PSBR in rhodopsin, the photoisomerization quantum yield (QY) is much lower, actually the lowest value ever reported for retinal proteins (<15%). Noticeably, in ASR the excited state lifetime (ESL) is at least five times larger and the QY is more than twice as large for AT PSBR as compared to 13C PSBR. We argue that ESL and QY cannot be expected to be correlated at all, but that the latter is decided on, as often anticipated, by the wavepacket pathways leading to the conical intersection seam.