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Biosystems. 1994;33(3):167-75.

Evolution of photosynthetic reaction centers and light harvesting chlorophyll proteins.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Arizona, Tucson 85721.


It is proposed that there is a single evolutionary origin for photosynthetic reaction centers and also for most light-harvesting chlorophyll proteins. It is generally accepted that the purple bacterial reaction center (quinone-reducing photosystem) and the plant and cyanobacterial PSII (oxygen-evolving photosystem) are homologous. It is also apparent that the green sulfur bacterial reaction center is homologous to cyanobacterial PSI (the pyridine nucleotide reducing photosystem). However, it is less obvious that PSI is related to the purple bacterial reaction center. It is herein proposed that PSI represents a gene fusion of the precursors of small light harvesting bacteriochlorophyll proteins from purple bacteria and purple bacterial reaction centers. Furthermore, it is proposed that reaction centers evolved from the membrane-spanning cytochrome b of the cytochrome bc1 complex and that most membrane-spanning cytochromes may have a common origin.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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