Light harvesting in photosystem I supercomplexes.

Research paper by Alexander N AN Melkozernov, James J Barber, Robert E RE Blankenship

Indexed on: 13 Jan '06Published on: 13 Jan '06Published in: Biochemistry


In photosynthetic membranes of cyanobacteria, algae, and higher plants, photosystem I (PSI) mediates light-driven transmembrane electron transfer from plastocyanin or cytochrome c6 to the ferredoxin-NADP complex. The oxidoreductase function of PSI is sensitized by a reversible photooxidation of primary electron donor P700, which launches a multistep electron transfer via a series of redox cofactors of the reaction center (RC). The excitation energy for the functioning of the primary electron donor in the RC is delivered via the chlorophyll core antenna in the complex with peripheral light-harvesting antennas. Supermolecular complexes of the PSI acquire remarkably different structural forms of the peripheral light-harvesting antenna complexes, including distinct pigment types and organizational principles. The PSI core antenna, being the main functional unit of the supercomplexes, provides an increased functional connectivity in the chlorophyll antenna network due to dense pigment packing resulting in a fast spread of the excitation among the neighbors. Functional connectivity within the network as well as the spectral overlap of antenna pigments allows equilibration of the excitation energy in the depth of the whole membrane within picoseconds and loss-free delivery of the excitation to primary donor P700 within 20-40 ps. Low-light-adapted cyanobacteria under iron-deficiency conditions extend this capacity via assembly of efficiently energy coupled rings of CP43-like complexes around the PSI trimers. In green algae and higher plants, less efficient energy coupling in the eukaryotic PSI-LHCI supercomplexes is probably a result of the structural adaptation of the Chl a/b binding LHCI peripheral antenna that not only extends the absorption cross section of the PSI core but participates in regulation of excitation flows between the two photosystems as well as in photoprotection.