Structure-based calculations of optical spectra of photosystem i suggest an asymmetric light-harvesting process

Julian Adolphs, Frank Müh, Mohamed El Amine Madjet, Marcel Schmidt Am Busch, Thomas Renger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

75 Citations (Scopus)


Optical line shape theory is combined with a quantum-chemical/electrostatic calculation of the site energies of the 96 chlorophyll a pigments and their excitonic couplings to simulate optical spectra of photosystem I core complexes from Thermosynechococcus elongatus. The absorbance, linear dichroism and circular dichroism spectra, calculated on the basis of the 2.5 Å crystal structure, match the experimental data semiquantitatively allowing for a detailed analysis of the pigment-protein interaction. The majority of site energies are determined by multiple interactions with a large number (>20) of amino acid residues, a result which demonstrates the importance of long-range electrostatic interactions. The low-energy exciton states of the antenna are found to be located at a nearest distance of about 25 Å from the special pair of the reaction center. The intermediate pigments form a high-energy bridge, the site energies of which are stabilized by a particularly large number (>100) of amino acid residues. The concentration of low energy exciton states in the antenna is larger on the side of the A-branch of the reaction center, implying an asymmetric delivery of excitation energy to the latter. This asymmetry in light-harvesting may provide the key for understanding the asymmetric use of the two branches in primary electron transfer reactions. Experiments are suggested to check for this possibility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3331-3343
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry

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