Solar water splitting Pt-nanoparticle photosystem I thylakoid systems: Catalyst identification, location and oligomeric structure

Lisa M. Utschig*, Nestor J. Zaluzec, Tirupathi Malavath, Nina S. Ponomarenko, David M. Tiede

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Photosynthetic conversion of light energy into chemical energy occurs in sheet-like membrane-bound compartments called thylakoids and is mediated by large integral membrane protein-pigment complexes called reaction centers (RCs). Oxygenic photosynthesis of higher plants, cyanobacteria and algae requires the symbiotic linking of two RCs, photosystem II (PSII) and photosystem I (PSI), to split water and assimilate carbon dioxide. Worldwide there is a large research investment in developing RC-based hybrids that utilize the highly evolved solar energy conversion capabilities of RCs to power catalytic reactions for solar fuel generation. Of particular interest is the solar-powered production of H2, a clean and renewable energy source that can replace carbon-based fossil fuels and help provide for ever-increasing global energy demands. Recently, we developed thylakoid membrane hybrids with abiotic catalysts and demonstrated that photosynthetic Z-scheme electron flow from the light-driven water oxidation at PSII can drive H2 production from PSI. One of these hybrid systems was created by self-assembling Pt-nanoparticles (PtNPs) with the stromal subunits of PSI that extend beyond the membrane plane in both spinach and cyanobacterial thylakoids. Using PtNPs as site-specific probe molecules, we report the electron microscopic (EM) imaging of oligomeric structure, location and organization of PSI in thylakoid membranes and provide the first direct visualization of photosynthetic Z-scheme solar water-splitting biohybrids for clean H2 production.

Original languageEnglish
Article number148974
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Bioenergetics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Hydrogen evolution
  • Photosynthetic biohybrid
  • Photosystem I
  • Solar fuel
  • Solar water splitting
  • electron microscopy


Dive into the research topics of 'Solar water splitting Pt-nanoparticle photosystem I thylakoid systems: Catalyst identification, location and oligomeric structure'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this