Two different photosystem II particles isolated from pea, a core complex and the D1/D2/Cyt b-559 reaction centre (RC) complex, have been characterised by absorption, linear dichroism (LD) and circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy. Only one carotenoid contributes to the LD of the reaction centre, in agreement with the biochemical analysis. This carotenoid is oriented parallel to the long axis of the reaction centre. The chlorophyll QYcontribution to the LD is oriented perpendicular to the long axis of the reaction centre. The LD of the reaction centre carotenoid is reversed in the core complex. In addition, the contribution of a second carotenoid species can be observed. In the core, the two pools of carotenoid have a rather different orientation with respect to the membrane plane: one parallel, the other perpendicular. In addition, in the core the sign of the LD in the chlorophyll QYregion is reversed and red-shifted as compared to the reaction centre. These observations suggest that the reaction centre is oriented with its long axis perpendicular to the long axis of the PS II core and to the membrane plane. The circular dichroism CD of the reaction centre has intense peaks of opposite sign at 444 nm (negative) and 435 nm (positive), which we attribute to exciton coupling between Chl a molecules in the reaction centre. The RC has no CD in the range 460-650 nm; thus there is no exciton coupling between the carotenoid and the other pigments. The lack of CD in this region is consistent with the biochemical analysis of only one carotenoid per reaction centre. The larger core complex exhibits much weaker CD (per Chl). The CD in the QYabsorption band indicates exciton coupling between chlorophyll molecules. The sign of the pair of peaks in this region is reversed in the core with respect to the reaction centre. © 1988.
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