Photo-isomerization of the isolated photoactive yellow protein chromophore: what comes before the primary step?†
Photoactive proteins typically rely on structural changes in a small chromophore to initiate a biological response. While these changes often involve isomerization as the “primary step”, preceding this is an ultrafast relaxation of the molecular framework caused by the sudden change in electronic structure upon photoexcitation. Here, we capture this motion for an isolated model chromophore of the photoactive yellow protein using time-resolved photoelectron imaging. It occurs in <150 fs and is apparent from a spectral shift of ∼70 meV and a change in photoelectron anisotropy. Electronic structure calculations enable the quantitative assignment of the geometric and electronic structure changes to a planar intermediate from which the primary step can then proceed.
- This article is part of the themed collections: Festschrift Ivan Powis: Advances in Molecular Photoelectron Spectroscopy: Fundamentals & Application and PCCP Emerging Investigator Lectureship Award Winners