The Photosystem I (PSI) reaction center in cyanobacteria is comprised of ~96 chlorophyll (Chl) molecules, including six specialized Chl molecules denoted Chl1A/Chl1B (P700), Chl2A/Chl2B, and Chl3A/Chl3B that are arranged in two branches and function in primary charge separation. It has recently been proposed that PSI from Chroococcidiopsis thermalis (Nürnberg et al. (2018) Science 360, 1210–1213) and Fischerella thermalis PCC 7521 (Hastings et al. (2019) Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1860, 452–460) contain Chl f in the positions Chl2A/Chl2B. We tested this proposal by exciting RCs from white-light grown (WL-PSI) and far-red light grown (FRL-PSI) F. thermalis PCC 7521 with femtosecond pulses and analyzing the optical dynamics. If Chl f were in the position Chl2A/Chl2B in FRL-PSI, excitation at 740 nm should have produced the charge-separated state P700 +A0 − followed by electron transfer to A1 with a τ of ≤25 ps. Instead, it takes ~230 ps for the charge-separated state to develop because the excitation migrates uphill from Chl f in the antenna to the trapping center. Further, we observe a strong electrochromic shift at 685 nm in the final P700 +A1 − spectrum that can only be explained if Chl a is in the positions Chl2A/Chl2B. Similar arguments rule out the presence of Chl f in the positions Chl3A/Chl3B; hence, Chl f is likely to function solely as an antenna pigment in FRL-PSI. We additionally report the presence of an excitonically coupled homo- or heterodimer of Chl f absorbing around 790 nm that is kinetically independent of the Chl f population that absorbs around 740 nm.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cell Biology