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      Modeling of excitation dynamics in photosynthetic light-harvesting complexes: exact versus perturbative approaches

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          Two-dimensional spectroscopy of electronic couplings in photosynthesis.

          Time-resolved optical spectroscopy is widely used to study vibrational and electronic dynamics by monitoring transient changes in excited state populations on a femtosecond timescale. Yet the fundamental cause of electronic and vibrational dynamics--the coupling between the different energy levels involved--is usually inferred only indirectly. Two-dimensional femtosecond infrared spectroscopy based on the heterodyne detection of three-pulse photon echoes has recently allowed the direct mapping of vibrational couplings, yielding transient structural information. Here we extend the approach to the visible range and directly measure electronic couplings in a molecular complex, the Fenna-Matthews-Olson photosynthetic light-harvesting protein. As in all photosynthetic systems, the conversion of light into chemical energy is driven by electronic couplings that ensure the efficient transport of energy from light-capturing antenna pigments to the reaction centre. We monitor this process as a function of time and frequency and show that excitation energy does not simply cascade stepwise down the energy ladder. We find instead distinct energy transport pathways that depend sensitively on the detailed spatial properties of the delocalized excited-state wavefunctions of the whole pigment-protein complex.
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            Theoretical examination of quantum coherence in a photosynthetic system at physiological temperature.

            The observation of long-lived electronic coherence in a photosynthetic pigment-protein complex, the Fenna-Matthews-Olson (FMO) complex, is suggestive that quantum coherence might play a significant role in achieving the remarkable efficiency of photosynthetic electronic energy transfer (EET), although the data were acquired at cryogenic temperature [Engel GS, et al. (2007) Evidence for wavelike energy transfer through quantum coherence in photosynthetic systems. Nature 446:782-786]. In this paper, the spatial and temporal dynamics of EET through the FMO complex at physiological temperature are investigated theoretically. The numerical results reveal that quantum wave-like motion persists for several hundred femtoseconds even at physiological temperature, and suggest that the FMO complex may work as a rectifier for unidirectional energy flow from the peripheral light-harvesting antenna to the reaction center complex by taking advantage of quantum coherence and the energy landscape of pigments tuned by the protein scaffold. A potential role of quantum coherence is to overcome local energetic traps and aid efficient trapping of electronic energy by the pigments facing the reaction center complex.
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              Crystal structure of spinach major light-harvesting complex at 2.72 A resolution.

              The major light-harvesting complex of photosystem II (LHC-II) serves as the principal solar energy collector in the photosynthesis of green plants and presumably also functions in photoprotection under high-light conditions. Here we report the first X-ray structure of LHC-II in icosahedral proteoliposome assembly at atomic detail. One asymmetric unit of a large R32 unit cell contains ten LHC-II monomers. The 14 chlorophylls (Chl) in each monomer can be unambiguously distinguished as eight Chla and six Chlb molecules. Assignment of the orientation of the transition dipole moment of each chlorophyll has been achieved. All Chlb are located around the interface between adjacent monomers, and together with Chla they are the basis for efficient light harvesting. Four carotenoid-binding sites per monomer have been observed. The xanthophyll-cycle carotenoid at the monomer-monomer interface may be involved in the non-radiative dissipation of excessive energy, one of the photoprotective strategies that have evolved in plants.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics
                J. Phys. B: At. Mol. Opt. Phys.
                IOP Publishing
                0953-4075
                1361-6455
                June 28 2017
                June 28 2017
                May 25 2017
                : 50
                : 12
                : 124003
                Article
                10.1088/1361-6455/aa6b87
                © 2017

                http://iopscience.iop.org/info/page/text-and-data-mining

                http://iopscience.iop.org/page/copyright

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