Energy transfer between photosystem II (PSII) centers is known from previous fluorescence studies. We have studied the theoretical consequences of energetic connectivity of PSII centers on photosynthetic thermoluminescence (TL) and predict that connectivity affects the TL Q band. First, connectivity is expected to make the Q band wider and more symmetric than an ideal first-order TL band. Second, the presence of closed PSII centers in an energetically connected group of PSII centers is expected to lower the probability that an exciton originating in a recombination reaction becomes retrapped. The latter effect would shift the Q band toward lower temperature, and the shift would be greater the higher the percentage of closed PSII centers at the beginning of the measurement. These effects can be generalized as second-order effects, as they make the Q band resemble the second-order TL bands obtained from semiconducting solids. We applied the connected-units model of chlorophyll fluorescence to derive equations for quantifying the second-order effects in TL. To test the effect of the initial proportion of closed reaction centers, we measured the Q band with different intensities of the excitation flash and found that the peak position changed by 2.5°C toward higher temperature when the flash intensity was lowered from saturating to 0.39% of saturating. The result shows that energy transfer between reaction centers of PSII forms the physical basis of retrapping in photosynthetic TL. The second-order effects partially explain the deviation of the form of the Q band from ideal first-order TL. © 2009 by the Biophysical Society.
Tyystjärvi, E., Rantamäki, S., & Tyystjärvi, J. (2009). Connectivity of photosystem II is the physical basis of retrapping in photosynthetic thermoluminescence. Biophysical Journal, 96(9), 3735–3743. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bpj.2009.02.014