We discuss to what extent the vibrational spectra of bacteriorhodopsin that have been observed and assigned by Smith et al. (1, 2) by means of resonance Raman and by Gerwert and Siebert (EMBO (Eur. Mol. Biol. Organ.) J. In press) by means of infrared absorption experiments are in agreement with a photo-cycle of bacteriorhodopsin that involves the sequence BR, IO(all-trans) → K(13,14-cis) → L(13,14-cis) → M(13-cis) → N(13-cis) → O(all-trans). Our discussion is based on a quantumchemical modified neglect of diatomic overlap [MNDO] calculation of the vibrational spectra of the relevant isomers of the protonated retinal Schiff base. In particular, we investigated in these calculations the effects of different charge environments on the frequencies of the relevant C-C single bond stretching vibrations of these isomers.
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