Intramolecular electron transfer in the electrostatic cytochrome c oxidase/cytochrome c complex was investigated using a novel photoactivatable dye. Laser photolysis of thiouredopyrenetrisulfonate (TUPS), covalently linked to cysteine 102 on yeast iso-1-cytochrome c, generates a triplet state of the dye, which donates an electron to cytochrome c, followed by electron transfer to cytochrome c oxidase. Time-resolved optical absorption difference spectra were collected at delay times from 100 ns to 200 ms between 325 and 650 nm. On the basis of singular value decomposition (SVD) and multiexponential fitting, three apparent lifetimes were resolved. A sequential kinetic mechanism is proposed from which the microscopic rate constants and spectra of the intermediates were determined. The triplet state of TUPS donates an electron to cytochrome c with a forward rate constant of ∼2.0 × 104 s-1. A significant fraction of the triplet returns back to the ground state on a similar time scale. The reduction of cytochrome c is followed by faster electron transfer from cytochrome c to CuA, with the equilibrium favoring the reduced cytochrome c. Subsequently, CuA equilibrates with heme a with an apparent rate constant of ∼1 × 104 s-1. On a millisecond time scale, the oxidized TUPS returns to the ground state and heme a becomes reoxidized. The extracted intermediate spectra are in excellent agreement with model spectra of the postulated intermediates, supporting the proposed mechanism.