The Photocycle of Bacteriophytochrome Is Initiated by Counterclockwise Chromophore Isomerization

Photoactivation of bacteriophytochrome involves a cis–trans photoisomerization of a biliverdin chromophore, but neither the precise sequence of events nor the direction of the isomerization is known. Here, we used nonadiabatic molecular dynamics simulations on the photosensory protein dimer to resolve the isomerization mechanism in atomic detail.