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FEBS Lett. 1998 Oct 30;438(1-2):5-9.

Photosynthetic reaction centers.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Center for the Study of Early Events in Photosynthesis, Arizona State University, Tempe 85287-1604, USA.


The reaction center is the key component for the primary events in the photochemical conversion of light into chemical energy. After excitation by light, a charge separation that spans the cell membrane is formed in the reaction center in a few hundred picoseconds with a quantum yield of essentially one. A conserved pattern in the cofactors and core proteins of reaction centers from different organisms can be defined based on comparisons of the three dimensional structure of two types of reaction centers. Different functional aspects of the reaction center are discussed, including the properties of the bacteriochlorophyll or chlorophyll dimer that constitutes the primary electron donor, the pathway of electron transfer, and the different functional roles of the electron acceptors. The implication of these results on the evolution of the reaction center is presented.

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