Polarized X-ray absorption spectroscopy of the low-temperature photoproduct of carbonmonoxy-myoglobin

Alessandro Arcovito, S Della Longa, B Vallone, A Castellano, R Kahn, J Vicat, Y Soldo, J. Hazemann

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28 Citations (Scopus)


Visible light can break the Fe-CO bond in Fe(II) carbonmonoxy-myoglobin (MbCO) giving an unligated product (Mb*) that is almost stable at T < 30 K. Fe K-edge polarized X-ray absorption spectra (P-XAS) of the photoproduct (T = 20 K) of an oriented single crystal (0.2 x 0.2 x 0.3 mm) of sperm whale MbCO (space group P2(1)) have been collected. By rotating the crystal the X-ray photon polarization vector has been oriented almost parallel (with an angle (alpha = 23 degrees) or perpendicular (alpha = 86 degrees) to the heme normal of each myoglobin molecule. The crystal was continuously illuminated by a white-light source during the data collection. The polarized data give novel information on the Fe-heme electronic/structural rearrangement following photolysis. The XANES (X-ray absorption near-edge structure) spectrum polarized in the direction close to the Fe-CO bond changes dramatically after photolysis, exhibiting a shift of similar to 2 eV, due to electronic relaxation of empty states of p(z) symmetry, while more subtle changes are observed in the spectrum polarized along the heme plane, sensitive to the heme-plane geometry. Changes in the pre-edge region can be interpreted to provide insight into the electronic structure of the highest occupied and lowest unoccupied molecular orbitals (HOMO-LUMO) in the MbCO --> Mb* photochemical reaction at low temperature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1138-1147
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Synchrotron Radiation
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Low temperature photoproduct


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