Effect of microhydration on the electronic structure of the chromophores of the photoactive yellow and green fluorescent proteins

D. Zuev, K.B. Bravaya, M. Makarova, and A.I. Krylov
J. Chem. Phys. 135, 194304 (2011)

Electronic structure calculations of microhydrated model chromophores (in their deprotonated anionic forms) of the photoactive yellow and green fluorescent proteins (PYP and GFP) are reported. Electron-detachment and excitation energies as well as binding energies of mono- and dihydrated isomers are computed and analyzed. Microhydration has different effect on the excited and ionized states. In lower-energy planar isomers, the interaction with one water molecule blue-shifts the excitation energies by 0.1-0.2 eV, whereas the detachment energies increase by 0.4-0.8 eV. The important consequence is that microhydration by just one water molecule converts the resonance (autoionizing) excited states of the bare chromophores into bound states. In the lower-energy microhydrated clusters, interactions with water have negligible effect on the chromophore geometry, however, we also identified higher energy dihydrated clusters of PYP in which two water molecules from hydrogen-bonding network connecting carboxylate and phenolate moieties and the chromophore is strongly distorted resulting in a significant shift of excitation energies (up to 0.6 eV).

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