Picosecond fluorescence of intact and dissolved PSI-LHCI crystals

Bart Van Oort, Alexey Amunts, Jan Willem Borst, Arie Van Hoek, Nathan Nelson, Herbert Van Amerongen*, Roberta Croce

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Over the past several years, many crystal structures of photosynthetic pigment-protein complexes have been determined, and these have been used extensively to model spectroscopic results obtained on the same proteins in solution. However, the crystal structure is not necessarily identical to the structure of the protein in solution. Here, we studied picosecond fluorescence of photosystem I light-harvesting complex I (PSI-LHCI), a multisubunit pigment-protein complex that catalyzes the first steps of photosynthesis. The ultrafast fluorescence of PSI-LHCI crystals is identical to that of dissolved crystals, but differs considerably from most kinetics presented in the literature. In contrast to most studies, the data presented here can be modeled quantitatively with only two compartments: PSI core and LHCI. This yields the rate of charge separation from an equilibrated core (22.5 ± 2.5 ps) and rates of excitation energy transfer from LHCI to core (kLC) and vice versa (kCL). The ratio between these rates, R = kCL/k LC, appears to be wavelength-dependent and scales with the ratio of the absorption spectra of LHCI and core, indicating the validity of a detailed balance relation between both compartments. kLC depends slightly but nonsystematically on detection wavelength, averaging (9.4 ± 4.9 ps) -1. R ranges from 0.5 (<690 nm) to ∼;1.3 above 720 nm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5851-5861
Number of pages11
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number12
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2008


FundersFunder number
Stichting voor Fundamenteel Onderzoek der Materie
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek
Israel Science Foundation356/06


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