Electronic and nuclear structural snapshots in ligand dissociation and recombination processes of iron porphyrin in solution: a combined optical/X-ray approach. Academic Article uri icon


  • The photodissociation and recombination of CO and 1-methylimidazole (Im) from iron protoporphyrin IX (FePP-ImCO) dissolved in a 30% v/v aqueous solution of Im was studied using ultrafast optical transient absorption (TA) and X-ray transient absorption (XTA) spectroscopies. FePP-ImCO was shown to lose the CO ligand upon excitation at the Q bands, with 3.8 ps vibrational cooling and 21.6 ps intersystem crossing time constants derived from optical TA experiments, followed by ligation of a second Im on the nanosecond time scale. The penta-coordinate FePP-Im intermediate which forms following CO dissociation adopts a square pyramidal geometry with a "domed" iron center that is reminiscent of that formed upon loss of CO from carbonmonoxymyoglobin (MbCO). Unlike MbCO, which typically retains its newly generated penta-coordinated geometry until CO recombination, FePP can adopt a hexa-coordinate geometry by binding an additional Im ligand (FePP-(Im)2), allowing the porphyrin to exist in the low-spin electronic state even without the CO attached. The second Im ligand remains bound until CO recombination occurs with a time constant of 283 s. The photodissociated states of FePP-ImCO and MbCO 100 ps after photoexcitation have similar iron site geometries, implying that the protein matrix in MbCO maintains minimum potential energy in the heme center despite the large-scale reorganization in the protein secondary and tertiary structure that arises from the dynamic active site/matrix interaction.

published proceedings

  • J Phys Chem B

author list (cited authors)

  • Mara, M. W., Shelby, M., Stickrath, A., Harpham, M., Huang, J., Zhang, X., Hoffman, B. M., & Chen, L. X.

citation count

  • 11

complete list of authors

  • Mara, Michael W||Shelby, Megan||Stickrath, Andrew||Harpham, Mike||Huang, Jier||Zhang, Xiaoyi||Hoffman, Brian M||Chen, Lin X

publication date

  • November 2013