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Photosynth Res. 2000;64(1):27-39.

Composition and optical properties of reaction centre core complexes from the green sulfur bacteria Prosthecochloris aestuarii and Chlorobium tepidum.

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Department of Biophysics, Huygens Laboratory, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9504, 2300 RA, Leiden, The Netherlands,


Photosynthetically active reaction centre core (RCC) complexes were isolated from two species of green sulfur bacteria, Prosthecochloris (Ptc.) aestuarii strain 2K and Chlorobium (Chl.) tepidum, using the same isolation procedure. Both complexes contained the main reaction centre protein PscA and the iron-sulfur protein PscB, but were devoid of Fenna-Matthews-Olson (FMO) protein. The Chl. tepidum RCC preparation contained in addition PscC (cytochrome c). In order to allow accurate determination of the pigment content of the RCC complexes, the extinction coefficients of bacteriochlorophyll (BChl) a in several solvents were redetermined with high precision. They varied between 54.8 mM(-1) cm(-1) for methanol and 97.0 mM(-1) cm(-1) for diethylether in the Q(Y) maximum. Both preparations appeared to contain 16 BChls a of which two are probably the 13(2)-epimers, 4 chlorophylls (Chls) a 670 and 2 carotenoids per RCC. The latter were of at least two different types. Quinones were virtually absent. The absorption spectra were similar for the two species, but not identical. Eight bands were present at 6 K in the BChl a Q(Y) region, with positions varying from 777 to 837 nm. The linear dichroism spectra showed that the orientation of the BChl a Q(Y) transitions is roughly parallel to the membrane plane; most nearly parallel were transitions at 800 and 806 nm. For both species, the circular dichroism spectra were dominated by a strong band at 807-809 nm, indicating strong interactions between at least some of the BChls. The absorption, CD and LD spectra of the four Chls a 670 were virtually identical for both RCC complexes, indicating that their binding sites are highly conserved and that they are an essential part of the RCC complexes, possibly as components of the electron transfer chain. Low temperature absorption spectroscopy indicated that typical FMO-RCC complexes of Ptc. aestuarii and Chl. tepidum contain two FMO trimers per reaction centre.


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