Wageningen, Netherlands
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Wientjes E.,University of Groningen | Van Stokkum I.H.M.,VU University Amsterdam | Van Amerongen H.,Wageningen University | Van Amerongen H.,MicroSpectroscopy Center | Croce R.,University of Groningen
Biophysical Journal | Year: 2011

Photosystem I (PSI) plays a major role in the light reactions of photosynthesis. In higher plants, PSI is composed of a core complex and four outer antennas that are assembled as two dimers, Lhca1/4 and Lhca2/3. Time-resolved fluorescence measurements on the isolated dimers show very similar kinetics. The intermonomer transfer processes are resolved using target analysis. They occur at rates similar to those observed in transfer to the PSI core, suggesting competition between the two transfer pathways. It appears that each dimer is adopting various conformations that correspond to different lifetimes and emission spectra. A special feature of the Lhca complexes is the presence of an absorption band at low energy, originating from an excitonic state of a chlorophyll dimer, mixed with a charge-transfer state. These low-energy bands have high oscillator strengths and they are superradiant in both Lhca1/4 and Lhca2/3. This challenges the view that the low-energy charge-transfer state always functions as a quencher in plant Lhc's and it also challenges previous interpretations of PSI kinetics. The very similar properties of the low-energy states of both dimers indicate that the organization of the involved chlorophylls should also be similar, in disagreement with the available structural data. © 2011 by the Biophysical Society.


Caffarri S.,Aix - Marseille University | Caffarri S.,French Atomic Energy Commission | Caffarri S.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Broess K.,Wageningen University | And 3 more authors.
Biophysical Journal | Year: 2011

We performed picosecond fluorescence measurements on well-defined Photosystem II (PSII) supercomplexes from Arabidopsis with largely varying antenna sizes. The average excited-state lifetime ranged from 109 ps for PSII core to 158 ps for the largest C 2S 2M 2 complex in 0.01% a-DM. Excitation energy transfer and trapping were investigated by coarsegrained modeling of the fluorescence kinetics. The results reveal a large drop in free energy upon charge separation (>700 cm∼ -1) and a slow relaxation of the radical pair to an irreversible state (∼150 ps). Somewhat unexpectedly, we had to reduce the energy-transfer and charge-separation rates in complexes with decreasing size to obtain optimal fits. This strongly suggests that the antenna system is important for plant PSII integrity and functionality, which is supported by biochemical results. Furthermore, we used the coarse-grained model to investigate several aspects of PSII functioning. The excitation trapping time appears to be independent of the presence/absence of most of the individual contacts between light-harvesting complexes in PSII supercomplexes, demonstrating the robustness of the light-harvesting process. We conclude that the efficiency of the nonphotochemical quenching process is hardly dependent on the exact location of a quencher within the supercomplexes. © 2011 by the Biophysical Society.


Wientjes E.,University of Groningen | Van Stokkum I.H.M.,VU University Amsterdam | Van Amerongen H.,Wageningen University | Van Amerongen H.,MicroSpectroscopy Center | And 2 more authors.
Biophysical Journal | Year: 2011

In this work, we have investigated the role of the individual antenna complexes and of the low-energy forms in excitation energy transfer and trapping in Photosystem I of higher plants. To this aim, a series of Photosystem I (sub)complexes with different antenna size/composition/absorption have been studied by picosecond fluorescence spectroscopy. The data show that Lhca3 and Lhca4, which harbor the most red forms, have similar emission spectra (λ max = 715-720 nm) and transfer excitation energy to the core with a relative slow rate of ∼25/ns. Differently, the energy transfer from Lhca1 and Lhca2, the "blue" antenna complexes, occurs about four times faster. In contrast to what is often assumed, it is shown that energy transfer from the Lhca1/4 and the Lhca2/3 dimer to the core occurs on a faster timescale than energy equilibration within these dimers. Furthermore, it is shown that all four monomers contribute almost equally to the transfer to the core and that the red forms slow down the overall trapping rate by about two times. Combining all the data allows the construction of a comprehensive picture of the excitation-energy transfer routes and rates in Photosystem I. © 2011 Biophysical Society.


Passarini F.,University of Groningen | Wientjes E.,University of Groningen | van Amerongen H.,Wageningen University | van Amerongen H.,MicroSpectroscopy Center | Croce R.,University of Groningen
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Bioenergetics | Year: 2010

In this work we have investigated the origin of the multi-exponential fluorescence decay and of the short excited-state lifetime of Lhca4. Lhca4 is the antenna complex of Photosystem I which accommodates the red-most chlorophyll forms and it has been proposed that these chlorophylls can play a role in fluorescence quenching. Here we have compared the fluorescence decay of Lhca4 with that of several Lhca4 mutants that are affected in their red form content. The results show that neither the multi-exponentiality of the decay nor the fluorescence quenching is due to the red forms. The data indicate that Lhca4 exists in multiple conformations. The presence of the red forms, which are very sensitive to changes in the environment, allows to spectrally resolve the different conformations: a "blue" conformation with a short lifetime and a "red" one with a long lifetime. This finding strongly supports the idea that the members of the Lhc family are able to adopt different conformations associated with their light-harvesting and photoprotective roles. The ratio between the conformations is modified by the substitution of lutein by violaxanthin. Finally, it is demonstrated that the red forms cannot be present in the quenched conformation. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.


Wientjes E.,VU University Amsterdam | Wientjes E.,ICFO - Institute of Photonic Sciences | Van Amerongen H.,Wageningen University | Van Amerongen H.,MicroSpectroscopy Center | Croce R.,VU University Amsterdam
Journal of Physical Chemistry B | Year: 2013

We have studied thylakoid membranes of Arabidopsis thaliana acclimated to different light conditions and have related protein composition to excitation energy transfer and trapping kinetics in Photosystem II (PSII). In high light: the plants have reduced amounts of the antenna complexes LHCII and CP24, the overall trapping time of PSII is only ∼180 ps, and the quantum efficiency reaches a value of 91%. In low light: LHCII is upregulated, the PSII lifetime becomes ∼310 ps, and the efficiency decreases to 84%. This difference is largely caused by slower excitation energy migration to the reaction centers in low-light plants due to the LHCII trimers that are not part of the C 2S2M2 supercomplex. This pool of "extra" LHCII normally transfers energy to both photosystems, whereas it transfers only to PSII upon far-red light treatment (state 1). It is shown that in high light the reduction of LHCII mainly concerns the LHCII-M trimers, while the pool of "extra" LHCII remains intact and state transitions continue to occur. The obtained values for the efficiency of PSII are compared with the values of Fv/Fm, a parameter that is widely used to indicate the PSII quantum efficiency, and the observed differences are discussed. © 2013 American Chemical Society.


Bucherl C.A.,Laboratory of Biochemistry | van Esse G.W.,Laboratory of Biochemistry | Kruis A.,Laboratory of Biochemistry | Luchtenberg J.,Laboratory of Biochemistry | And 9 more authors.
Plant Physiology | Year: 2013

The leucine-rich repeat receptor-like kinase BRASSINOSTEROID-INSENSITIVE1 (BRI1) is the main ligand-perceiving receptor for brassinosteroids (BRs) in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). Binding of BRs to the ectodomain of plasma membrane (PM)- located BRI1 receptors initiates an intracellular signal transduction cascade that influences various aspects of plant growth and development. Even though the major components of BR signaling have been revealed and the PM was identified as the main site of BRI1 signaling activity, the very first steps of signal transmission are still elusive. Recently, it was shown that the initiation of BR signal transduction requires the interaction of BRI1 with its SOMATIC EMBRYOGENESIS RECEPTOR-LIKE KINASE (SERK) coreceptors. In addition, the resolved structure of the BRI1 ectodomain suggested that BRI1-ASSOCIATED KINASE1 [BAK1](SERK3) may constitute a component of the ligand-perceiving receptor complex. Therefore, we investigated the spatial correlation between BRI1 and BAK1(SERK3) in the natural habitat of both leucine-rich repeat receptor-like kinases using comparative colocalization analysis and fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy. We show that activation of BR signaling by exogenous ligand application resulted in both elevated colocalization between BRI1 and BAK1(SERK3) and an about 50% increase of receptor heterooligomerization in the PM of live Arabidopsis root epidermal cells. However, large populations of BRI1 and BAK1(SERK3) colocalized independently of BRs. Moreover, we could visualize that approximately 7% of the BRI1 PM pool constitutively heterooligomerizes with BAK1(SERK3) in live root cells. We propose that only small populations of PMlocated BRI1 and BAK1(SERK3) receptors participate in active BR signaling and that the initiation of downstream signal transduction involves preassembled BRI1-BAK1(SERK3) heterooligomers. © 2013 American Society of Plant Biologists. All Rights Reserved.


Spruijt E.,Wageningen University | Westphal A.H.,Wageningen University | Westphal A.H.,MicroSpectroscopy Center | Borst J.W.,Wageningen University | And 3 more authors.
Macromolecules | Year: 2010

When oppositely charged polyelectrolytes are mixed below a critical salt concentration, their mixtures show macroscopic phase separation into a dilute and a dense, polyelectrolyte complex phase. Binodal compositions of the polyelectrolyte complexes have been measured experimentally using fluorescently labeled polyelectrolytes. We used fluorescein-labeled poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) of four different chain lengths (N = 20, 50, 150, and 510) to determine the binodal compositions of polyelectrolyte complexes of PAA and poly(N,N-dimethylaminoethyl methacrylate) (PDMAEMA) of similar chain lengths. The water content of polyelectrolyte complexes obtained has a lower limit of about 65%, practically independent of chain length, and increases with increasing salt concentration. We interpret our results on binodal compositions, water content and critical salt concentration as a function of chain length using the mean-field model of Voorn and Overbeek and find good quantitative agreement with our experiments using only one adjustable parameter. We believe that such a model can be used to predict equilibrium concentrations also for other strongly charged flexible polyelectrolytes. © 2010 American Chemical Society.


Wientjes E.,VU University Amsterdam | Van Amerongen H.,Wageningen University | Van Amerongen H.,MicroSpectroscopy Center | Croce R.,VU University Amsterdam
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Bioenergetics | Year: 2013

LHCII, the most abundant membrane protein on earth, is the major light-harvesting complex of plants. It is generally accepted that LHCII is associated with Photosystem II and only as a short-term response to overexcitation of PSII a subset moves to Photosystem I, triggered by its phosphorylation (state1 to state2 transition). However, here we show that in most natural light conditions LHCII serves as an antenna of both Photosystem I and Photosystem II and it is quantitatively demonstrated that this is required to achieve excitation balance between the two photosystems. This allows for acclimation to different light intensities simply by regulating the expression of LHCII genes only. It is demonstrated that indeed the amount of LHCII that is bound to both photosystems decreases when growth light intensity increases and vice versa. Finally, time-resolved fluorescence measurements on the photosynthetic thylakoid membranes show that LHCII is even a more efficient light harvester when associated with Photosystem I than with Photosystem II. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

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