Heyne, K; Herbst, J; Stehlik, D; Esteban, B; Lamparter, T; Hughes, J; Diller, R
BIOPHYSICAL JOURNAL 2002, 82(2), 1004-1016
Femtosecond time-resolved transient absorption spectroscopy was employed to characterize for the first time the primary photoisomerization dynamics of a bacterial phytochrome system in the two thermally stable states of the photocycle. The 85-kDa phytochrome Cph1 from the cyanobacterium Synechocystis PCC 6803 expressed in Escherichia coli was reconstituted with phycocyanobilin (Cph1-PCB) and phycoerythrobilin (Cph1-PEB). The red-light-absorbing form Pr of Cph1-PCB shows an ~150 fs relaxation in the S1 state after photoexcitation at 650 nm. The subsequent Z-E isomerization between rings C and D of the linear tetrapyrrole-chromophore is best described by a distribution of rate constants with the first moment at (16 ps)-1. Excitation at 615 nm leads to a slightly broadened distribution. The reverse E-Z isomerization, starting from the far-red-absorbing form Pfr, is characterized by two shorter time constants of 0.54 and 3.2 ps. In the case of Cph1-PEB, double-bond isomerization does not take place, and the excited-state lifetime extends into the nanosecond regime. Besides a stimulated emission rise time between 40 and 150 fs, no fast relaxation processes are observed. This suggests that the chromophore-protein interaction along rings A, B, and C does not contribute much to the picosecond dynamics observed in Cph1-PCB but rather the region around ring D near the isomerizing C-15==C-16 double bond. The primary reaction dynamics of Cph1-PCB at ambient temperature is found to exhibit very similar features as those described for plant type A phytochrome, i.e., a relatively slow Pr, and a fast Pfr, photoreaction. This suggests that the initial reactions were established already before evolution of plant phytochromes began.