A Kinetic Model for the Energy Transfer in Phycobilisomes

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A kinetic model for the energy transfer in phycobilisome (PBS) rods of Synechococcus 6301 is presented, based on a set of experimental parameters from picosecond studies. It is shown that the enormous complexity of the kinetic system formed by 400–500 chromophores can be greatly simplified by using symmetry arguments. According to the model the transfer along the phycocyanin rods has to be taken into account in both directions, i.e., back and forth along the rods. The corresponding forward rate constants for single step energy transfer between trimeric disks are predicted to be 100–300 ns-1. The model that best fits the experimental data is an asymmetric random walk along the rods with overall exciton kinetics that is essentially trap-limited. The transfer process from the sensitizing to the fluorescing C-PC phycocyanin chromophores (τ ≈ 10 ps) is localized in the hexamers. The transfer from the innermost phycocyanin trimer to the core is calculated to be in the range 36–44 ns-1. These parameters lead to calculated overall rod-core transfer times of 102 and 124 ps for rods containing three and four hexamers, respectively. The model calculations confirm the previously suggested hypothesis that the energy transfer from the rods to the core is essentially described by one dominant exponential function. Extension of the model to heterogeneous PBS rods, i.e., PBS containing also phycoerythrin, is straightforward. © 1987, The Biophysical Society. All rights reserved.




Suter, G. W., & Holzwarth, A. R. (1987). A Kinetic Model for the Energy Transfer in Phycobilisomes. Biophysical Journal, 52(5), 673–683. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0006-3495(87)83262-9

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