How a biological system responds to a charge shift is a challenging question directly relevant to biological function. Time-resolved fluorescence of a tryptophan residue reflects protein and solvent response to the difference in π-electron density between the excited and the ground state. In this study we use molecular dynamics to calculate the time-dependent spectral shift (TDSS) in the fluorescence of Trp-43 in GB1 protein. A new computational method for separating solvent, protein, and fluorophore contributions to TDSS is applied to 100 nonequilibrium trajectories for GB1 in TIP3P water. The results support several nontrivial conclusions. Both longitudinal and transverse relaxation modes of bulk solvent contribute to the TDSS in proteins. All relaxation components slower than the transverse relaxation of bulk solvent have significant contributions from both protein and solvent, with a negative correlation between them. Five exponential terms in the TDSS of GB1 are well separated by their relaxation times. A 0.036 ps term is due to both solvent (60%) and protein (40%). Two exponential terms represent longitudinal (τL ≈ 0.4 ps) and transverse (τD ≈ 5.6 ps) relaxation modes of TIP3P water. A 131 ps term is attributable to a small change in the tertiary structure, with the α-helix moving 0.2 Å away from the β-strand containing Trp-43. A 2580 ps term is due to the change in the conformation of the Glu-42 side chain that brings its carboxyl group close to the positively charged end of the excited fluorophore. Interestingly, water cancels 60% of the TDSS resulting from this conformational change.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry