Photoprotection in the antenna complexes of photosystem II: Role of individual xanthophylls in chlorophyll triplet quenching

Milena Mozzo, Luca Dall'Osto, Rainer Hienerwadel, Roberto Bassi, Roberta Croce*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In this work the photoprotective role of all xanthophylls in LHCII, Lhcb4, and Lhcb5 is investigated by laser-induced Triplet-minus-Singlet (TmS) spectroscopy. The comparison of native LHCII trimeric complexes with different carotenoid composition shows that the xanthophylls in sites V1 and N1 do not directly contribute to the chlorophyll triplet quenching. The largest part of the triplets is quenched by the lutein bound in site L1, which is located in close proximity to the chlorophylls responsible for the low energy state of the complex. The lutein in the L2 site is also active in triplet quenching, and it shows a longer triplet lifetime than the lutein in the L1 site. This lifetime difference depends on the occupancy of the N1 binding site, where neoxanthin acts as an oxygen barrier, limiting the access of O2 to the inner domain of the Lhc complex, thereby strongly contributing to the photostability. The carotenoid triplet decay of monomeric Lhcb1, Lhcb4, and Lhcb5 is mono-exponential, with shorter lifetimes than observed for trimeric LHCII, suggesting that their inner domains are more accessible for O2. As for trimeric LHCII, only the xanthophylls in sites L1 and L2 are active in triplet quenching. Although the chlorophyll to carotenoid triplet transfer is efficient (95%) in all complexes, it is not perfect, leaving 5% of the chlorophyll triplets unquenched. This effect appears to be intrinsically related to the molecular organization of the Lhcb proteins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6184-6192
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2008


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