Journal of Physical Chemistry B, Vol.114, No.8, 3046-3051, 2010
Deciphering Excited State Evolution in Halorhodopsin with Stimulated Emission Pumping
The primary photochemical dynamics of Hb. pharaonis Halorhodopsin (pHR) are investigated by femtosecond visible pump-near IR dump-hyperspectral probe spectroscopy. The efficiency of excited state depletion is deduced from transient changes in absorption, recorded with and without stimulated emission pumping (SEP), as a function of the dump delay. The concomitant reduction of photocycle Population is assessed by probing the "K" intermediate difference spectrum. Results show that the cross section for stimulating emission is nearly constant throughout the fluorescent state lifetime. Probing "K" demonstrates that dumping produces a proportionate reduction in photocycle yields. We conclude that, despite its nonexponential internal conversion (IC) kinetics, the fluorescent state in pHR constitutes a single intermediate in the photocycle. This contrasts with Conclusions drawn from the Study of primary events in the related chloride pump from Hb. salinarum (sHR), believed to produce the "K" intermediate from a distinct short-lived subpopulation in the excited state. Our discoveries concerning internal conversion dynamics in pHR are discussed in light of recent expectations for similar excited state dynamics in both proteins.