• Excited state charge redistribution and dynamics of flavins, flavorproteins, and their cofactors

      Stanley, Robert J.; Spano, Francis C.; Matsika, Spiridoula; Peteanu, Linda Anne, 1961- (Temple University. Libraries, 2013)
      The excited state electronic structures of several biologically important chromophores were studied by Stark spectroscopy. The extent of charge redistribution upon excitation to the lowest excited states of the oxidized and semiquinone forms of flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) bound to the light activated DNA repair enzyme DNA photolyase have been studied previously by this technique. This work focuses on the catalytically active form, the two-electron reduced anion. To facilitate analysis of this experiment, the Stark spectra of a simple flavin derivative that is soluble in organic solvents was measured. The results of the analysis of these data are in agreement with previously a published linear dichroism experiment that found the absorption spectrum of flavins in this redox state arises from two distinct electonic transitions in the visible/near-ultraviolet spectral range, a fact that has not been incorporated into the analysis of many ultrafast spectroscopic experiments of reduced anionic flavins/flavoproteins. The difference dipole moment of the second, more intense, transition was found to be about twice as large as that of the lowest energy transition. With the aid of ab initio calculations, the directions of these dipole moments in the molecular frame were assigned. For both transitions, it was found that negative charge density is shifted toward the xylene ring of the flavin upon excitation. Another important consideration for the correct analysis of the photolyase spectra is the possibility of contamination by small amounts of the antenna chromophore, which also has absorption intensity in the near-ultraviolet region. We chose to study the cofactor for E. coli photolyase, 5,10-methenyltetrahydrofolate, and its photodecomposition product, 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate. The difference dipole moments for the lowest energy transitions of both of these chromophores were found to be quite large, ranging from 9-12 D fc and lying primarily along the transition dipole moment. Additionally, the difference polarizability of both chromophores was large, on the order of 200-300 Å3 fc2 . The Stark spectra of reduced anionic FAD in photolyase agrees well with the findings of the experiments on flavin in organic solvent; the magnitude of the difference dipole moments in both cases match within experimental error. While the direction of the difference dipole moment for the lowest transition is also the same in both cases, that of the second transition is changed in the protein matrix. The assignment of these vectors in the molecular frame shows that the two dipole moments are coincident for the cofactor bound to photolyase. This finding, where electron density is shifted toward the point of the flavin ring closes to the DNA lesion bound to the enzyme, is strong evidence that direct electron transfer takes place from the isoalloxazine ring of FAD to the DNA substrate in the catalytic cycle. The usefulness of Stark spectroscopy in investigating photoinduced charge redistribution was also shown for the donor-π-acceptor flavin dyad, azobenzylflavin (ABFL). The difference dipole moment was found to be 22 D, an approximately three-fold increase from the largest difference dipole moment found in naturally occurring flavins. This extensive charge redistribution corresponds to a large hyperpolarizability of the chromophore that suggests that ABFL may be useful in nonlinear optical applications. Transient absorption was used to supplement these experiments by monitoring the decay kinetics of ABFL after excitation. It was found that ABFL undergoes ultrafast charge recombination within 6 ps after excitation, leading to depopulation of the charge separated state before useful work can be performed for applications requiring electron transfer. These studies provide the ground work for rational design of other ABFL-like derivatives for use in a variety of applications.