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Theoretical Study of Absorption and Fluorescence Spectra of Firefly Luciferin in Aqueous Solutions

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Corresponding author email: hymmyb@is.nagoya-u.ac.jp (Miyabi Hiyama)

Abstract

The absorption and fluorescence spectra of firefly luciferin, which is an analog of oxyluciferin, are investigated by performing the density functional theory (DFT) calculations, especially focusing on the experimentally unassigned peaks. Time-dependent DFT calculations are performed for the excited states of firefly luciferin and its conjugate acids and bases. We find that (1) the peaks in the experimental absorption spectra correspond to the excited states of not only (6′O, 4COO) and (6′OH, 4COO), but also (6′OH, 4COOH) and (6′OH, 3H+, 4COOH); (2) the peaks in the experimental fluorescence spectra correspond to the excited states of not only (6′O, 4COO), but also (6′OH, 4COO), (6′O, 4COOH), (6′OH, 4COOH) and (6′OH, 3H+, 4COOH); (3) the unassigned peak near 400 nm in the experimental absorption spectra at pH 1 is assigned to the absorption from the equilibrium ground state to the first excited state of (6′OH, 3H+, 4COOH); and (4) the unassigned peak at 610 nm in the experimental fluorescence spectra corresponds to the transition from the equilibrium first excited state to the ground state of (6′OH, 4COO).

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