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The Photosynthetic Membrane: Molecular Mechanisms and Biophysics of Light Harvesting

ISBN: 978-1-119-96054-6
282 pages
November 2012
The Photosynthetic Membrane: Molecular Mechanisms and Biophysics of Light Harvesting (1119960541) cover image

The proteins that gather light for plant photosynthesis are embedded within cell membranes in a site called the thylakoid membrane (or the "photosynthetic membrane").  These proteins form the light harvesting antenna that feeds with energy a number of vital photosynthetic processes such as water oxidation and oxygen evolution, the pumping of protons across the thylakoid membranes coupled with the electron transport chain of the photosystems and cytochrome b6f complex, and ATP synthesis by ATP synthase utilizing the generated proton gradient. 

The Photosynthetic Membrane: Molecular Mechanisms and Biophysics of Light Harvesting is an introduction to the fundamental design and function of the light harvesting photosynthetic membrane, one of the most common and most important structures of life. It describes the underlying structure of the membrane, the variety and roles of the membrane proteins, the atomic structures of light harvesting complexes and their macromolecular assemblies, the molecular mechanisms and dynamics of light harvesting and primary energy transformations, and the broad range of adaptations to different light environments.  The book shows, using the example of the photosynthetic membrane, how complex biological structures utilize principles of chemistry and physics in order to carry out biological functions.  

The Photosynthetic Membrane: Molecular Mechanisms of Light Harvesting will appeal to a wide audience of undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as researchers working in the fields of biochemistry, molecular biology, biophysics, plant science and bioengineering.
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Preface xi

Acknowledgements xiii

1 Life, Energy and Light 1

1.1 The Definition of Life 1

1.2 The Energy of Matter 2

1.2.1 The Source of Life’s Energy

1.3 Energy for the Future 3

1.4 Photosynthesis by Life 4

1.4.1 Photon Energy Transformations 5

Reference 6

Bibliography 6

2 The Space of the Cell 7

2.1 The Cell Concept: Fundamental Nature Of Life 7

2.2 Compartmentalization: The Cult of the Membrane 9

2.3 Membrane Components: Fundamentals of Proteins 12

2.4 Functional Classification of Membrane Proteins 14

Reference 15

Bibliography 16

3 The Photosynthetic Membrane: Outlook 17

3.1 Knowledge of the Pre-Atomic Structure Era: Organization of the Photosynthetic Membrane System 17

3.2 Composition of the Photosynthetic Membrane 21

3.2.1 Lipids 21

3.2.2 Lipid-Related Compounds of the Photosynthetic Membrane 22

3.2.3 Proteins and Protein Complexes 25

3.3 Oligomerization, Interactions and Mobility of the Photosynthetic Proteins: Enabling Functions and Adaptations 28

3.3.1 Oligomerization and Clustering of Photosynthetic Membrane Proteins 28

3.3.2 Protein Mobility 29

Reference 31

Bibliography 31

4 Popular Methods and Approaches to Study Composition, Structure and Functions of the Photosynthetic Membrane 33

4.1 Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Approaches 33

4.1.1 Isolation of Chloroplasts and Subchloroplast Particles 33

4.1.2 Isolation of Membrane Protein Complexes 35

4.1.3 Analysis of Lipids and Pigments 37

4.1.4 Protein Expression and Reconstitution In Vitro 38

4.1.5 Reconstitution of Membrane Proteins in Liposomes 39

4.1.6 Mutagenesis and Transgenic Manipulations 39

4.2 Visualization Techniques 40

4.2.1 Optical Microscopy 40

4.2.2 Electron Microscopy (EM) 42

4.2.3 Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) 45

4.2.4 Crystallography Methods 46

4.3 Function Probing Methods 47

4.3.1 Absorption-Based Approaches 48

4.3.2 Raman Spectroscopy 53

4.3.3 Fluorescence-Based Approaches 54

References 64

Bibliography 64

5 Primary Processes of the Light Phase of Photosynthesis: Principles of Light Harvesting in Antennae 65

5.1 The Nature of Light 65

5.2 Absorption of Light by Molecules 69

5.3 Fate of Absorbed Light Energy 70

5.4 The Need for the Photosynthetic Antenna and the Fifth Fate of Excitation Energy 73

5.5 Photosynthetic Antenna Pigments 79

5.5.1 Chlorophylls 79

5.5.2 Xanthophylls 85

5.6 Variety and Classification of Photosynthetic Antennae 88

5.7 Principles of Light Harvesting: Summary 89

5.8 Connecting Light Harvesting Antenna to the Photosystems: Red Energy Traps 93

References 95

Bibliography 96

6 Towards the Atomic Resolution Structure of Light Harvesting Antennae: On the Path of Discoveries 97

6.1 Discovery and Primary Characterization of the Higher Plant Antenna Complex 98

6.2 Development of Isolation Methods: Intactness, Purity and Quantity 100

6.3 LHCII Crystallography: The Beginnings 103

6.4 Revealing the Atomic Resolution Structure of LHCII

Antenna Complexes 107

6.4.1 Key Biochemical and Spectroscopic Advances that Aided the Emergence of the Current Atomic LHCIIb Structure 107

6.4.2 The New Structure of LHCIIb 110

6.5 Structure of a Minor LHCII Complex CP29 121

6.6 Comparison of LHCII Structure with the Structure of a Simpler Light Harvesting Complex from Purple Bacteria, LH2 123

References 127

Bibliography 127

7 Structural Integration of Antennae within Photosystems 129

7.1 Light Harvesting Complexes Gene Family 130

7.2 Toward the Structure of a Complete Photosystem II Unit: Supercomplexes 131

7.3 Supramolecular Structure of Photosystem I: LHCI 139

7.4 Photosynthetic Membrane Protein Landscapes 140

7.5 Robustness of the Light Harvesting Antenna Design: Resurrecting the Structure to Preserve the Function 143

References 149

Bibliography 150

8 Dynamics of Light Harvesting Antenna: Spectroscopic Insights 151

8.1 Steady-State Optical Spectroscopy of LHCII: Composition and Order 152

8.2 Time-Resolved Spectroscopy of LHCII: Energy Migration 156

8.2.1 Time-Resolved Fluorescence Spectroscopy 156

8.2.2 Time-Resolved Absorption Spectroscopy 160

8.3 Spectral and Structural Identity of LHCII Xanthophylls 161

8.4 Plasticity of Light Harvesting Antenna Design: Tailoring the Structure to Optimize the Function 167

8.5 LHCII Oligomerization : Dynamics of the ‘Programmed Solvent’ 170

8.5.1 Alterations in the Spectral Properties of LHCII 170

8.5.2 Structural Changes within LHCII 174

8.6 Kinetics of the Collective LHCII Transition into the Dissipative State: Exploring ‘The Switch’ Control 180

References 184

Bibliography 185

9 Adaptations of the Photosynthetic Membrane to Light 187

9.1 The Need for Light Adaptations and their Various Strategies 188

9.2 Long-Term Regulation of the Photosystem Ratio and their Antenna Size: Acclimation 191

9.3 Short-Term Adaptations to Light Quality: State Transitions 192

9.3.1 The Phenomenology of State Transitions 192

9.3.2 The Molecular Mechanism of State Transitions 195

9.3.3 Chromatic Adaptations in Plants Lacking the Polypeptides of the Major LHC II Complex 199

9.3.4 Future of State Transitions Research 201

9.4 Short-Term Adaptations to Light Quantity 203

9.4.1 Control of Excess Light Energy in Photosystem II –The Phenomenon of Nonphotochemical Chlorophyll Fluorescence Quenching (NPQ) 203

9.4.2 The Molecular Components and Processes Involved in NPQ 206

9.4.3 Future of qE Research 225

References 226

Bibliography 226

10 What is in it for Plant, Biosphere and Mankind? 229

10.1 Science and Society 229

10.2 Energy Balance of Photosynthesis: A Wasteful Process? 230

10.3 Crops and Light Harvesting 234

10.4 Light Harvesting Principles for Future Applications: Liberation from Saturation Constraints 237

10.5 Effects of Changing Climate – The Onset of Disorder 240

Bibliography 242

11 Conclusions 243

Index

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  • Shows, using the example of the photosynthetic membrane, how complex biological structures utilize principles of chemistry and physics in order to carry out biological functions
  • Based on part of the 11-week third-year course “Membrane Proteins” given annually at Queen Mary University London to over 100 biochemistry students
  • Written by a renowned expert in the field of adaptation of plants to different illumination conditions
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“The Photosynthetic Membrane: Molecular Mechanisms of Light Harvesting will appeal to a wide audience of undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as researchers working in the fields of biochemistry, molecular biology, biophysics, plant science and bioengineering.”  (Biotechnology, Agronomy, Society, Environment, 1 December 2012)

 

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