The retinal photocycle dynamics of the fluorescent voltage sensor QuasAr1 (Archaerhodopsin 3 P60S-T80S-D95H-D106H-F161V mutant from Halorubrum sodomense
) in pH 8 Tris buffer was studied. The samples were photoexcited to the first absorption band of the protonated retinal Schiff base (PRSB) Ret_580 (absorption maximum at λmax
≈ 580 nm), and the retinal Schiff base photoisomerization and protonation state changes were followed by absorption spectra recordings during light exposure and after light exposure. Ret_580 turned out to be composed of two protonated retinal Schiff base isomers, namely Ret_580I
. Photoexcitation of Ret_580I
resulted in barrier-involved isomerization to Ret_540 (quantum yield ≈ 0.056) and subsequent retinal proton release leading to Ret_410 deprotonated retinal Schiff base (RSB). In the dark, Ret_410 partially recovered to Ret_580I
and partially stabilized to irreversible Ret_400 due to apoprotein restructuring (Ret_410 lifetime ≈ 2 h). Photoexcitation of Ret_580II
resulted in barrier-involved isomerization to Ret_640 (quantum yield ≈ 0.00135) and subsequent deprotonation to Ret_370 (RSB). In the dark, Ret_370 partially recovered to Ret_580II
and partially stabilized to irreversible Ret_350 due to apoprotein restructuring (Ret_370 lifetime ≈ 10 h). Photocycle schemes and reaction coordinate diagrams for Ret_580I
were developed and photocyle parameters were determined.
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