Excitation energy transfer in the LHC-II trimer: From carotenoids to chlorophylls in space and time

Jari Martiskainen*, Robertas Kananavičius, Juha Linnanto, Heli Lehtivuori, Mika Keränen, Viivi Aumanen, Nikolai V. Tkachenko, Jouko E I Korppi-Tommola

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Exciton model for description of experimentally determined excitation energy transfer from carotenoids to chlorophylls in the LHC-II trimer of spinach is presented. Such an approach allows connecting the excitonic states to the spatial structure of the complex and hence descriptions of advancements of the initially created excitations in space and time. Carotenoids were excited at 490 nm and at 500 nm and induced absorbance changes probed in the Chl Qy region to provide kinetic data that were interpreted by using the results from exciton calculations. Calculations included the 42 chlorophylls and the 12 carotenoids of the complex, Soret, Qx and Qy states of the chlorophylls, and the main absorbing S2 state of the carotenoids. According to the calculations excitation at 500 nm populates mostly a mixed Lut S2 Chl a Soret state, from where excitation is transferred to the Qx and Qy states of the Chl a's on the stromal side. Internal conversion of the mixed state to a mixed Lut S1 and Chl a Qy state provides a channel for Lut S1 to Chl a Q y energy transfer. The results from the calculations support a picture where excitation at 490 nm populates primarily a mixed neoxanthin S 2 Chl b Soret state. From this state excitation from neoxanthin is transferred to iso-energetic Chl b Soret states or via internal conversion to S1 Chl b Qy states. From the Soret states excitation proceeds via internal conversion to Qy states of Chl b's mostly on the lumenal side. A rapid Chl b to Chl a transfer and subsequent transfer to the stromal side Chl a's and to the final state completes the process after 490 nm excitation. The interpretation is further supported by the fact that excitation energy transfer kinetics after excitation of neoxanthin at 490 nm and the Chl b Qy band at 647 nm (Linnanto et al., Photosynth Res 87:267-279, 2006) are very similar.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-207
Number of pages13
JournalPhotosynthesis Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011


  • Carotenoid
  • Chlorophyll
  • Excitation energy transfer
  • Exciton calculation
  • Femtosecond spectroscopy
  • Fluorescence up-conversion
  • Light-harvesting complex II


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