Determination of the PS I content of PS II core preparations using selective emission: A new emission of PS II at 780 nm

Jennifer Morton, Jeremy Hall, Paul Smith, Akita Fusamichi, Faisal Koua, Jian Ren Shen, Elmars Krausz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Routinely prepared PS II core samples are often contaminated by a significant (∼ 1-5%) fraction of PS I, as well as related proteins. This contamination is of little importance in many experiments, but masks the optical behaviour of the deep red state in PS II, which absorbs in the same spectral range (700-730 nm) as PS I (Hughes et al. 2006). When contamination levels are less than ~ 1%, it becomes difficult to quantify the PS I related components by gel-based, chromatographic, circular dichroism or EPR techniques. We have developed a fluorescence-based technique, taking advantage of the distinctively different low-temperature emission characteristics of PS II and PS I when excited near 700 nm. The approach has the advantage of providing the relative concentration of the two photosystems in a single spectral measurement. A sensitivity limit of 0.01% PS I (or better) can be achieved. The procedure is applied to PS II core preparations from spinach and Thermosynechococcus vulcanus. Measurements made of T. vulcanus PS II preparations prepared by re-dissolving crystallised material indicate a low but measurable PS I related content. The analysis provides strong evidence for a previously unreported fluorescence of PS II cores peaking near 780 nm. The excitation dependence of this emission as well as its appearance in both low PS I cyanobacterial and plant based PS II core preparations suggests its association with the deep red state of PS II.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-177
Number of pages11
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Bioenergetics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Fluorescence
  • Fluorescence line-narrowing
  • Photosystem I
  • Photosystem II
  • Spectral hole-burning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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