Temperature dependence and polarization of fluorescence from Photosystem I in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803

Bruce Paul Wittmershaus, Vincent M. Woolf, Wim F.J. Vermaas

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37 Scopus citations


To determine the fluorescence properties of cyanobacterial Photosystem I (PS I) in relatively intact systems, fluorescence emission from 20 to 295 K and polarization at 77 K have been measured from phycobilisomes-less thylakoids of Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 and a mutant strain lacking Photosystem II (PS II). At 295 K, the fluorescence maxima are 686 nm in the wild type from PS I and PS II and at 688 nm from PS I in the mutant. This emission is characteristic of bulk antenna chlorophylls (Chls). The 690-nm fluorescence component of PS I is temperature independent. For wild-type and mutant, 725-nm fluorescence increases by a factor of at least 40 from 295 to 20 K. We model this temperature dependence assuming a small number of Chls within PS I, emitting at 725 nm, with an energy level below that of the reaction center, P700. Their excitation transfer rate to P700 decreases with decreasing temperature increasing the yield of 725-nm fluorescence. Fluorescence excitation spectra of polarized emission from low-energy Chls were measured at 77 and 295 K on the mutant lacking PS II. At excitation wavelengths longer than 715 nm, 760-nm emission is highly polarized indicating either direct excitation of the emitting Chls with no participation in excitation transfer or total alignment of the chromophores. Fluorescence at 760 nm is unpolarized for excitation wavelengths shorter than 690 nm, inferring excitation transfer between Chls before 760-nm fluorescence occurs. Our measurements illustrate that: 1) a single group of low-energy Chls (F725) of the core-like PS I complex in cyanobacteria shows a strongly temperature-dependent fluorescence and, when directly excited, nearly complete fluorescence polarization, 2) these properties are not the result of detergent-induced artifacts as we are examining intact PS I within the thylakoid membrane of S. 6803, and 3) the activation energy for excitation transfer from F725 Chls to P700 is less than that of F735 Chls in green plants; F725 Chls may act as a sink to locate excitations near P700 in PS I.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-87
Number of pages13
JournalPhotosynthesis research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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