Complexation of green and red Kaede fluorescent protein chromophores by a zwitterion to probe electrostatic and induction field effects

Eleanor K. Ashworth, Mark H. Stockett, Christina Kjaer, Philip C. Bulman Page, Stephen R. Meech, Steen Brøndsted Nielsen, James N. Bull

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The photophysics of green fluorescent protein (GFP) and red Kaede fluorescent protein (rKFP) are defined by the intrinsic properties of the light-absorbing chromophore and its interaction with the protein binding pocket. This work deploys photodissociation action spectroscopy to probe the absorption profiles for a series of synthetic GFP and rKFP chromophores as the bare anions and as complexes with the betaine zwitterion, which is assumed as a model for dipole microsolvation. Electronic structure calculations and energy decomposition analysis using Symmetry-Adapted Perturbation Theory are used to characterize gas-phase structures and complex cohesion forces. The calculations reveal a preponderance for coordination of betaine to the phenoxide deprotonation site predominantly through electrostatic forces. Calculations using the STEOM-DLPNO-CCSD method are able to reproduce absolute and relative vertical excitation energies for the bare anions and anion–betaine complexes. On the other hand, treatment of the betaine molecule with a point-charge model, in which the charges are computed from some common electron density population analysis schemes, show that just electrostatic and point-charge induction interactions are unable to account for the betaine-induced spectral shift. The present methodology could be applied to investigate cluster forces and optical properties in other gas-phase ion–zwitterion complexes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1158–1167
Number of pages10
JournalThe Journal of Physical Chemistry A
Volume126
Issue number7
Early online date9 Feb 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2022

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