Redox-state dependent blinking of single photosystem I trimers at around liquid-nitrogen temperature

Sankar Jana, Ting Du, Ryo Nagao, Takumi Noguchi, Yutaka Shibata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Efficient light harvesting in a photosynthetic antenna system is disturbed by a ragged and fluctuating energy landscape of the antenna pigments in response to the conformation dynamics of the protein. This situation is especially pronounced in Photosystem I (PSI) containing red shifted chlorophylls (red Chls) with the excitation energy much lower than the primary donor. The present study was conducted to clarify light-harvesting dynamics of PSI isolated from Synechocystis sp. PCC6803 by using single-molecule spectroscopy at liquid‑nitrogen temperatures. Fluorescence emission at around 720 nm from the red Chls in single PSI trimers was monitored at 80–100 K. Intermittent variations in the emission intensities, so-called blinking, were frequently observed. Its time scale lay in several tens of seconds. The blinking amplitude depended on the redox state of the phylloquinone (A1). Electrochromic shifts of Chls induced by the negative charge on A1 were calculated based on the X-ray crystallographic structure. A Chl molecule, Chl-A839 (numbering according to PDB 5OY0), bound near A1 was found to have a large electrochromic shift. This Chl has strong exciton coupling with neighboring Chl (A838) whose site energy was predicted to be determined by interaction with an arginine residue (ArgF84) [Adolphs et al., 2010]. A possible scenario of the blinking was proposed. Conformational fluctuations of ArgF84 seesaw the excitation-energy of Chl-A838, which perturbs the branching ratio of excitation-energy between the red Chl and the cationic form of P700 as a quencher. The electrochromic shift of Chl-A839 enhances the effect of the conformation dynamics of ArgF84.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-40
Number of pages11
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Bioenergetics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Cryogenic microscope
  • Electrochromic shift
  • Fluorescence blinking
  • Phylloquinone
  • Single-molecule spectroscopy
  • Site energy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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