Retinal isomerization in bacteriorhodopsin captured by a femtosecond x-ray laser

Ultrafast isomerization of retinal is the primary step in photoresponsive biological functions including vision in humans and ion-transport across bacterial membranes. We studied the sub-picosecond structural dynamics of retinal isomerization in the light-driven proton pump bacteriorhodopsin using an x-ray laser. A series of structural snapshots with near-atomic spatial and temporal resolution in the femtosecond regime show how the excited all-trans retinal samples conformational state…
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