Determination of the excitation migration time in Photosystem II. Consequences for the membrane organization and charge separation parameters

Koen Broess, Gediminas Trinkunas, Arie van Hoek, Roberta Croce, Herbert van Amerongen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The fluorescence decay kinetics of Photosystem II (PSII) membranes from spinach with open reaction centers (RCs), were compared after exciting at 420 and 484 nm. These wavelengths lead to preferential excitation of chlorophyll (Chl) a and Chl b, respectively, which causes different initial excited-state populations in the inner and outer antenna system. The non-exponential fluorescence decay appears to be 4.3 ± 1.8 ps slower upon 484 nm excitation for preparations that contain on average 2.45 LHCII (light-harvesting complex II) trimers per reaction center. Using a recently introduced coarse-grained model it can be concluded that the average migration time of an electronic excitation towards the RC contributes ~ 23% to the overall average trapping time. The migration time appears to be approximately two times faster than expected based on previous ultrafast transient absorption and fluorescence measurements. It is concluded that excitation energy transfer in PSII follows specific energy transfer pathways that require an optimized organization of the antenna complexes with respect to each other. Within the context of the coarse-grained model it can be calculated that the rate of primary charge separation of the RC is (5.5 ± 0.4 ps)- 1, the rate of secondary charge separation is (137 ± 5 ps)- 1 and the drop in free energy upon primary charge separation is 826 ± 30 cm- 1. These parameters are in rather good agreement with recently published results on isolated core complexes [Y. Miloslavina, M. Szczepaniak, M.G. Muller, J. Sander, M. Nowaczyk, M. Rögner, A.R. Holzwarth, Charge separation kinetics in intact Photosystem II core particles is trap-limited. A picosecond fluorescence study, Biochemistry 45 (2006) 2436-2442].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)404-409
Number of pages6
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Bioenergetics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2008


  • CP24
  • CP26
  • CP29
  • Excitation energy transfer
  • Non-photochemical quenching


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