Indexed on: 28 Jun '06Published on: 28 Jun '06Published in: Journal of Physical Chemistry B
Cytochrome c (Cyt c) is a heme protein involved in electron transfer and also in apoptosis. Its heme iron is bisaxially ligated to histidine and methionine side chains and both ferric and ferrous redox states are physiologically relevant, as well as a ligand exchange between internal residue and external diatomic molecule. The photodissociation of internal axial ligand was observed for several ferrous heme proteins including Cyt c, but no time-resolved studies have been reported on ferric Cyt c. To investigate how the oxidation state of the heme influences the primary photoprocesses, we performed a comprehensive comparative study on horse heart Cyt c by subpicosecond time-resolved resonance Raman and femtosecond transient absorption spectroscopy. We found that in ferric Cyt c, in contrast to ferrous Cyt c, the photodissociation of an internal ligand does not take place, and relaxation dynamics is dominated by vibrational cooling in the ground electronic state of the heme. The intermolecular vibrational energy transfer was found to proceed in a single phase with a temperature decay of approximately 7 ps in both ferric and ferrous Cyt c. For ferrous Cyt c, the instantaneous photodissociation of the methionine side chain from the heme iron is the dominant event, and its rebinding proceeds in two phases, with time constants of approximately 5 and approximately 16 ps. A mechanism of this process is discussed, and the difference in photoinduced coordination behavior between ferric and ferrous Cyt c is explained by an involvement of the excited electronic state coupled with conformational relaxation of the heme.