Energetics, protein dynamics, and electronic coupling are the key factors in controlling both electron and energy transfer in photosynthetic bacterial reaction centers (RCs). Here, we examine the rates and mechanistic pathways of the P+HA - radical-pair charge recombination, triplet state formation, and subsequent triplet energy transfer from the triplet state of the bacteriochlorophyll dimer (P) to the carotenoid in a series of mutant RCs (L131LH + M160LH (D1), L131LH + M197FH (D2), and L131LH + M160LH + M197FH (T1)) of Rhodobacter sphaeroides. In these mutants, the electronic structure of P is perturbed and the P/P+ midpoint potential is systematically increased due to addition of hydrogen bonds between P and the introduced residues. High-resolution, broad-band, transient absorption spectroscopy on the femtosecond to microsecond timescale shows that the charge recombination rate increases and the triplet energy transfer rate decreases in these mutants relative to the wild type (WT). The increase of the charge recombination rate is correlated to the increase in the energy level of P+HA - and the increase in the P/P+ midpoint potential. On the other hand, the decrease in rate of triplet energy transfer in the mutants can be explained in terms of a lower energy of 3P and a shift in the electron spin density distribution in the bacteriochlorophylls of P. The triplet energy-transfer rate follows the order of WT > L131LH + M197FH > L131LH + M160LH > L131LH + M160LH + M197FH, both at room temperature and at 77 K. A pronounced temperature dependence of the rate is observed for all of the RC samples. The activation energy associated to this process is increased in the mutants relative to WT, consistent with a lower 3P energy due to the addition of hydrogen bonds between P and the introduced residues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10097-10107
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number44
StatePublished - Nov 8 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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