Conformationally locked chromophores as models of excited-state proton transfer in fluorescent proteins

Mikhail S. Baranov, Konstantin A. Lukyanov, Alexandra O. Borissova, Jordan Shamir, Dmytro Kosenkov, Lyudmila V. Slipchenko, Laren M. Tolbert, Ilia V. Yampolsky, Kyril M. Solntsev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

141 Citations (Scopus)


Members of the green fluorescent protein (GFP) family form chromophores by modifications of three internal amino acid residues. Previously, many key characteristics of chromophores were studied using model compounds. However, no studies of intermolecular excited-state proton transfer (ESPT) with GFP-like synthetic chromophores have been performed because they either are nonfluorescent or lack an ionizable OH group. In this paper we report the synthesis and photochemical study of two highly fluorescent GFP chromophore analogues: p-HOBDI-BF2 and p-HOPyDI:Zn. Among known fluorescent compounds, p-HOBDI-BF 2 is the closest analogue of the native GFP chromophore. These irrreversibly (p-HOBDI-BF 2) and reversibly (p-HOPyDI:Zn) locked compounds are the first examples of fully planar GFP chromophores, in which photoisomerization-induced deactivation is suppressed and protolytic photodissociation is observed. The photophysical behavior of p-HOBDI-BF2 and p-HOPyDI:Zn (excited state pK as, solvatochromism, kinetics, and thermodynamics of proton transfer) reveals their high photoacidity, which makes them good models of intermolecular ESPT in fluorescent proteins. Moreover, p-HOPyDI:Zn is a first example of "super" photoacidity in metal-organic complexes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6025-6032
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 4 Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Conformationally locked chromophores as models of excited-state proton transfer in fluorescent proteins'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this