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Two-Photon-Induced Selective Decarboxylation of Aspartic Acids D85 and D212 in Bacteriorhodopsin


Rhinow,  Daniel
Department of Structural Biology, Max Planck Institute of Biophysics, Max Planck Society;

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Imhof, M., Rhinow, D., Linne, U., & Hampp, N. (2012). Two-Photon-Induced Selective Decarboxylation of Aspartic Acids D85 and D212 in Bacteriorhodopsin. The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, 3(20), 2991-2994.

The interest in microbial opsins stems from their photophysical properties, which are superior to most organic dyes. Microbial rhodopsins like bacteriorhodopsin (BR) from Halobacterium salinarum have an astonishingly high cross-section for two-photon-absorption (TPA), which is of great interest for technological applications such as data storage. Irradiation of BR with intense laser pulses at 532 nm leads to formation of a bathochromic photoproduct, which is further converted to a photochemical species absorbing in the UV range. As demonstrated earlier, the photochemical conversions are induced by resonant TPA. However, the molecular basis of these conversions remained unresolved. In this work we use mass spectroscopy to demonstrate that TPA of BR leads to selective decarboxylation of two aspartic acids in the vicinity of the retinal chromphore. These photochemical conversions are the basis of permanent two-photon data storage in BR and are of critical importance for application of microbial opsins in optogenetics.