Observation of coherent reaction dynamics in heme proteins

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Science  28 Oct 1994:
Vol. 266, Issue 5185, pp. 629-632
DOI: 10.1126/science.7939716


Femtosecond laser pulses, resonant with Soret band of the nitric oxide complex of myoglobin (MbNO), were used to probe coherent, low-frequency nuclear motion of the heme group after photolysis. Distinct oscillations with periods of 430 and 150 femtoseconds were observed and are attributed to heme doming and iron-histidine motion, respectively. These results verify that the nuclear motion of the heme is strongly coupled to the ligand binding reaction and demonstrate that such motion is not determined by overdamped (diffusive) dynamics. The relative phases and frequencies of the nuclear motion of the photoproduct suggest that the coherence arises from impulsive electronic forces associated with the spin-state change of the heme iron atom and the depopulation of its dz2 orbital during the bond-breaking event.