The ultrafast proton-transfer dynamics of 1-hydroxy-2-acetonaphthone has been theoretically analyzed in the ground and first singlet excited electronic states by density functional theory calculations and quantum dynamics. The potential energies obtained in the ground electronic state reveal that the proton-transfer process does not lead to a stable keto tautomer unless the transfer of the hydrogen from the enol form is accompanied by an internal rotation of the newly formed O-H bond. Calculations in the first singlet excited electronic state point to a very low barrier for the formation of the keto tautomer. The analysis of the calculated frequencies of the two tautomers in the excited state unveils a coupling of the skeletal motions (low frequency modes) with the proton-transfer process, as it has been stated from time-resolved experiments. The electronic energies obtained by the time-dependent density functional theory formalism have been fitted to a monodimensional potential energy surface in order to perform an exact quantum dynamics study of the process. Our results show that the proton-transfer process is completed within 25.5 fs, in remarkable good agreement with experiments. © 2007 American Institute of Physics.