Energy transfer properties of Rhodobacter sphaeroides chromatophores during adaptation to low light intensity

B. Driscoll, C. Lunceford, Su Lin, K. Woronowicz, R. A. Niederman, Neal Woodbury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy was used to explore the pathway and kinetics of energy transfer in photosynthetic membrane vesicles (chromatophores) isolated from Rhodobacter (Rba.) sphaeroides cells harvested 2, 4, 6 or 24 hours after a transition from growth in high to low level illumination. As previously observed, this light intensity transition initiates the remodeling of the photosynthetic apparatus and an increase in the number of light harvesting 2 (LH2) complexes relative to light harvesting 1 (LH1) and reaction center (RC) complexes. It has generally been thought that the increase in LH2 complexes served the purpose of increasing the overall energy transmission to the RC. However, fluorescence lifetime measurements and analysis in terms of energy transfer within LH2 and between LH2 and LH1 indicate that, during the remodeling time period measured, only a portion of the additional LH2 generated are well connected to LH1 and the reaction center. The majority of the additional LH2 fluorescence decays with a lifetime comparable to that of free, unconnected LH2 complexes. The presence of large LH2-only domains has been observed by atomic force microscopy in Rba. sphaeroides chromatophores (Bahatyrova et al., Nature, 2004, 430, 1058), providing structural support for the existence of pools of partially connected LH2 complexes. These LH2-only domains represent the light-responsive antenna complement formed after a switch in growth conditions from high to low illumination, while the remaining LH2 complexes occupy membrane regions containing mixtures of LH2 and LH1-RC core complexes. The current study utilized a multi-parameter approach to explore the fluorescence spectroscopic properties related to the remodeling process, shedding light on the structure-function relationship of the photosynthetic assembles. Possible reasons for the accumulation of these largely disconnected LH2-only pools are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17133-17141
Number of pages9
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Issue number32
StatePublished - Jul 23 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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