Magnetic field effects on radical pair reactions: estimation of B1/2 for flavin-tryptophan radical pairs in cryptochromes
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys.
Magnetic field effects on the yields of radical pair reactions are often characterised by the âhalf-fieldâ parameter, B1/2, which encodes useful information on spin relaxation, radical recombination kinetics and electron-electron couplings as well as electronânuclear hyperfine interactions. Here we use a variety of spin dynamics simulation methods to estimate the hyperfine-only values of B1/2 for the flavin-tryptophan radical pair, [FADËâ TrpHË+], thought to be the detector in the magnetic compass sense of migratory songbirds. The main findings are: (a) in the absence of fast recombination and spin relaxation, [FADËâ TrpHË+] radical pairs in solution and in the putative magnetoreceptor protein, cryptochrome, have B1/2 â 1.89 mT and 2.46 mT, respectively. (b) The widely used expression for B1/2 due to Weller et al. (Chem. Phys. Lett, 1983, 96, 24â27) is only applicable to small, short-lived (â¼5 ns), rapidly tumbling radical pairs in solution, and is quantitatively unreliable in the context of magnetoreception. (c) In the absence of molecular tumbling, the low-field effect for [FADËâ TrpHË+] is predicted to be abolished by the anisotropic components of the hyperfine interactions. Armed with the 2.46 mT âbase valueâ for cryptochrome, measurements of B1/2 can be used to understand the impact of spin relaxation on its performance as a magnetic compass sensor.