Ultrafast Heme Dynamics of Ferric Cytochrome c in Different Environments: Electronic, Vibrational, and Conformational Relaxation.

Research paper by Venugopal V Karunakaran

Indexed on: 30 Sep '15Published on: 30 Sep '15Published in: ChemPhysChem


The excited-state dynamics of ferric cytochrome c (Cyt c), an important electron-transfer heme protein, in acidic to alkaline medium and in its unfolded form are investigated by using femtosecond pump-probe spectroscopy, exciting the heme and Tryptophan (Trp) to understand the electronic, vibrational, and conformational relaxation of the heme. At 390 nm excitation, the electronic relaxation of heme is found to be ≈150 fs at different pH values, increasing to 480 fs in the unfolded form. Multistep vibrational relaxation dynamics of the heme, including fast and slow processes, are observed at pH 7. However, in the unfolded form and at pH 2 and 11, fast phases of vibrational relaxation dominate, revealing the energy dissipation occurring through the covalent bond interaction between the heme and the nearest amino acids. A significant shortening of the excited-state lifetime of Trp is observed at various pH values at 280 nm excitation due to resonance energy transfer to the heme. The longer time constant (25 ps) observed in the unfolded form is attributed to a complete global conformational relaxation of Cyt c.