The LH1-RC core complex from the thermophilic photosynthetic purple sulfur bacterium Thermochromatium tepidum has recently attracted interest of many researches because of several unique properties such as an increased robustness against environmental hardships and the much red-shifted near-infrared absorption spectrum of the LH1 antenna exciton polarons. The known near-atomic-resolution crystal structure of the complex well supported this attention. Yet several mechanistic aspects of the complex prominence remained to be understood.
In this work, the samples of the native, Ca2+-containing core complexes were investigated along with those destabilized by Ba2+ substitution, using various spectrally selective steady-state and picosecond time-resolved spectroscopic techniques at physiological and cryogenic temperatures. As a result, the current interpretation of exciton spectra of the complex was significantly clarified. Specifically, by evaluating the homogeneous and inhomogeneous compositions of the spectra we showed that there is little to no effect of cation substitution on the dynamic or kinetic properties of antenna excitons.
Reasons of the extra red-shift of absorption/fluorescence spectra observed in the Ca-LH1-RC and not in the Ba-LH1-RC complex should thus be searched in subtle structural differences following the inclusion of different cations into the core complex scaffold.
Rätsep, M., Timpmann, K., Kawakami, T., Wang-Otomo, Z.Y. and Freiberg, A., 2017. Spectrally Selective Spectroscopy of Native Ca-Containing and Ba-Substituted LH1-RC Core Complexes from Thermochromatium tepidum. The Journal of Physical Chemistry B.
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