Nonlinear network model analysis of vibrational energy transfer and localisation in the Fenna-Matthews-Olson complex

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Morgan, SE 
Cole, DJ 
Chin, AW 

Collective protein modes are expected to be important for facilitating energy transfer in the Fenna-Matthews-Olson (FMO) complex of photosynthetic green sulphur bacteria, however to date little work has focussed on the microscopic details of these vibrations. The nonlinear network model (NNM) provides a computationally inexpensive approach to studying vibrational modes at the microscopic level in large protein structures, whilst incorporating anharmonicity in the inter-residue interactions which can influence protein dynamics. We apply the NNM to the entire trimeric FMO complex and find evidence for the existence of nonlinear discrete breather modes. These modes tend to transfer energy to the highly connected core pigments, potentially opening up alternative excitation energy transfer routes through their influence on pigment properties. Incorporating localised modes based on these discrete breathers in the optical spectra calculations for FMO using ab initio site energies and excitonic couplings can substantially improve their agreement with experimental results.

0299 Other Physical Sciences
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Scientific Reports
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Nature Publishing Group
A.W.C. and S.E.M. acknowledge support from the Winton Programme for the Physics of Sustainability. S.E.M. is also supported by an EPSRC doctoral training award. D.J.C. is supported by a Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship within the seventh European Community Framework Programme.