Charge transfer states in phycobilisomes

Md Wahadoszamen, Tjaart P.J. Krüger, Anjue Mane Ara, Rienk van Grondelle, Michal Gwizdala*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Phycobilisomes (PBs) absorb light and supply downstream photosynthetic processes with excitation energy in many cyanobacteria and algae. In response to a sudden increase in light intensity, excess excitation energy is photoprotectively dissipated in PBs by means of the orange carotenoid protein (OCP)-related mechanism or via a light-activated intrinsic decay channel. Recently, we have identified that both mechanisms are associated with far-red emission states. Here, we investigate the far-red states involved with the light-induced intrinsic mechanism by exploring the energy landscape and electro-optical properties of the pigments in PBs. While Stark spectroscopy showed that the far-red states in PBs exhibit a strong charge-transfer (CT) character at cryogenic temperatures, single molecule spectroscopy revealed that CT states should also be present at room temperature. Owing to the strong environmental sensitivity of CT states, the knowledge gained from this study may contribute to the design of a new generation of fluorescence markers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number148187
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Bioenergetics
Issue number7
Early online date12 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020


We would like to acknowledge Dr. Diana Kirilovsky for kindly letting us use her laboratory to obtain the samples used in this study. We thank Dr. Ghada Ajlani for the kind gift of the mutant strains of Synechocystis , from which the samples were isolated. The work of all authors was supported from an advanced investigator grant ( 267333 , PHOTPROT) from the European Research Council and the TOP grant ( 700.58.305 ) from the Foundation of Chemical Sciences part of NWO , both awarded to RvG. TPJK was supported by the National Equipment Programme of the National Research Foundation (NRF) (grant N00500 , project 87990), NRF Thuthuka programme (grant N00726 , project 94107) and the Photonics Initiative of South Africa . RvG gratefully acknowledges his ‘Academy Professor’ grant from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) to RvG EMBO long term fellowship, Claude Leon Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship and Senior Postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pretoria to MG.

FundersFunder number
Seventh Framework Programme267333
European Research Council700.58.305
National Research FoundationN00500, 94107, N00726, 87990
Claude Leon Foundation
University of Pretoria
Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek


    • Excitation energy flow regulation
    • Light harvesting
    • Photosynthesis
    • Single molecule spectroscopy
    • Stark spectroscopy


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