Excitation Migration, Quenching, and Regulation of Photosynthetic Light Harvesting in Photosystem II

L. Valkunas, J. Chmeliov, G. Trinkunas, C.D.P. Duffy, R. van Grondelle, A.V. Ruban

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Excitation energy transfer and quenching in LHCII aggregates is considered in terms of a coarse-grained model. The model assumes that the excitation energy transfer within a pigment-protein complex is much faster than the intercomplex excitation energy transfer, whereas the quenching ability is attributed to a specific pigment-protein complex responsible for the nonphotochemical quenching (NPQ). It is demonstrated that the pump-probe experimental data obtained at low excitation intensities for LHCII aggregates under NPQ conditions can be equally well explained at two limiting cases, either describing the excitation kinetics in the migration-limited or in the trap-limited regime. Thus, it is concluded that low excitation conditions do not allow one to unambiguously define the relationship between the mean times of excitation migration and trapping. However, this could be achieved by using high excitation conditions when exciton-exciton annihilation is dominant. In this case it was found that in the trap-limited regime the excitation kinetics in the aggregate should be almost insensitive to the excitation density, meaning that singlet-singlet annihilation has little effect on the NPQ decay kinetics, whereas in the migration-limited case there is a clear intensity dependence. In order to account for the random distribution of the NPQ-traps within the LHCII aggregates, excitation diffusion in a continuous medium with random static traps was considered. This description demonstrates a very good correspondence to the experimental fluorescence kinetics assuming a lamellar (quasi-3D) structure of the antenna characterized by the dimension d = 2.4 and therefore justifying the diffusion-limited approach on which the model is based. Using the coarse-grained model to describe the aggregate we estimate one NPQ-trap per 100 monomeric LHCII complexes. Finally we discuss the origin of the traps responsible for excitation quenching under NPQ conditions. © 2011 American Chemical Society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9252-9260
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number29
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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