Primary Photoprocesses Involved in the Sensory Protein for the Photophobic Response of Blepharisma japonicum

Autori: Brazard, C. Ley, F. Lacombat, P. Plaza, M. M. Martin, G. Checcucci and F. Lenci
Rivista: J Phys Chem B
DOI: 10.1021/jp805815e
We present new femtosecond transient-absorption and picosecond fluorescence experiments performed on OBIP, the oxyblepharismin-binding protein believed to trigger the photophobic response of the ciliate Blepharisma japonicum. The formerly identified heterogeneity of the sample is confirmed and rationalized in terms of two independent populations, called rOBIP and nrOBIP. The rOBIP population undergoes a fast photocycle restoring the initial ground state in less than 500 ps. Intermolecular electron transfer followed by electron recombination is identified as the excited-state decay route. The experimental results support the coexistence of the oxyblepharismin (OxyBP) radical cation signature with a stimulated-emission signal at all times of the evolution of the transient-absorption spectra. This observation is interpreted by an equilibrium being reached between the locally excited state and a charge-transfer state on the ground of a theory developed by Mataga and co-workers to explain the fluorescence quenching of aromatic hydrogen-bonded donor-acceptor pairs in nonpolar solvents. OxyBP is supposed to bind to an as yet unknown electron acceptor by a hydrogen-bond (HB) and the coordinate along which forward and backward electron transfer proceed is assumed to be the shift of the HB proton. The observed kinetic isotope effect supports this interpretation. Protein relaxation is finally proposed to accompany the whole process and give rise to the highly multiexponential observed dynamics. As previously reported, the fast photocycle of rOBIP can be interpreted as an efficient sunscreen mechanism that protects Blepharisma japonicum from continuous irradiation. The nrOBIP population, the transient-absorption of which strongly reminds that of free OxyBP in solution, might be proposed to actually trigger the photophobic response of the organism through excited-state deprotonation of the chromophore occurring in the nanosecond regime. Additional femtosecond transient-absorption spectra of OxyBP and peri-deprotonated OxyBP are also reported and used as a comparison basis to interpret the results on OBIP.

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