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UV-visible absorption spectrum of FAD and its reduced forms embedded in a cryptochrome protein

Abstract : Cryptochromes are a class of flavoproteins proposed as candidates to explain magnetoreception of animals, plants and bacteria. The main hypothesis is that a biradical is formed upon blue-light absorption by flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD). In a protein milieu, the oxidized form of FAD can be reduced, leading to four redox derivative forms: anionic and neutral semi-reduced radicals, and anionic and neutral fully reduced forms. All these forms have a characteristic electronic absorption spectrum, with a strong vibrational resolution. Here, we carried out a normal mode analysis at the electrostatic embedding QM/MM level of theory to compute the vibrationally resolved absorption spectra of the five redox forms of FAD embedded in a plant cryptochrome. We show that explicitly accounting for vibrational broadening contributions to electronic transitions is essential to reproduce the experimental spectra. In the case of the neutral radical form of FAD, the absorption spectrum is reproduced only if the presence of a tryptophan radical is considered.
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Karno Schwinn, Nicolas Ferré, Miquel Huix-Rotllant. UV-visible absorption spectrum of FAD and its reduced forms embedded in a cryptochrome protein. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, Royal Society of Chemistry, 2020, 22, pp.12447-12455. ⟨10.1039/D0CP01714K⟩. ⟨hal-02722600⟩

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