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Biochemistry. 1992 Aug 25;31(33):7638-47.

Observation of pheophytin reduction in photosystem two reaction centers using femtosecond transient absorption spectroscopy.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Imperial College, London, United Kingdom.


Photosystem two reaction centers have been studied using a sensitive femtosecond transient absorption spectrometer. Measurements were performed at 295 K using different excitation wavelengths and excitation intensities which are shown to avoid multiphoton absorption by the reaction centers. Analyses of results collected over a range of time scales and probe wavelengths allowed the resolution of two exponential components in addition to those previously reported [Durrant, J. R., Hastings, G., Hong, Q., Barber, J., Porter, G., & Klug, D. R. (1992) Chem. Phys. Lett. 188, 54-60], plus the long-lived radical pair itself. A 21-ps component was observed. The process(es) responsible for this component was (were) found to produce bleaching of a pheophytin ground-state absorption band at 545 nm and the simultaneous appearance of a pheophytin anion absorption band at 460 nm resulting in a transient spectrum which was that of the radical pair P680+Ph-. This component is assigned to the production of reduced pheophytin. A lower limit of 60% of the final pheophytin reduction was found to occur at this rate. Despite subtle differences in transient spectra, the lifetime and yield of this pheophytin reduction are essentially independent of excitation wavelength within the signal to noise limitations of these experiments. A long-lived species was also observed. This species is produced by those processes which result in the 21-ps component, and it has a spectrum which is found to be independent of excitation wavelength. This spectrum is characteristic of the primary radical pair state P680+Ph-. In addition, a 200-ps component was found which is tentatively assigned to a slow energy-transfer/trapping process. This component was absent if P680 was excited directly and is therefore not integral to primary radical pair formation. Overall, it is concluded that the rate of pheophytin reduction is limited to (21 ps)-1, even when P680 is directly excited.

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