The membrane-linked light-harvesting II protein (LHII) of Rhodobacter capsulatus was partly depleted of carotenoids by selective extraction with light petroleum. Carotenoid removal was accompanied by bleaching of the Qy(S1<--S0) absorption band of bacteriochlorophyll (Bchl) a near 800 nm, by a bathochromic shift and a broadening of the other Bchl Qy band at 850 nm, and by the formation of a weak Qy band of dissociated Bchl near 770 nm. The changes in the 800 and 850 nm bands seemed to reflect alterations in only those Bchl molecules that had lost their associated carotenoids, firstly, because the extent of the changes was closely correlated to the degree of carotenoid extraction, and, secondly, because the residual fraction of carotenoid-containing LHII, which could be almost quantitatively recovered from the membrane after detergent solubilization and ion-exchange chromatography, showed an unmodified LHII absorption spectrum. The Bchl responsible for the shifted 850 nm band remained bound to protein, since its visible (Qx) transition seemed to retain the induced optical activity of the native bound pigment. Besides, the shifted Bchl could act as an efficient acceptor of singlet excitation energy from the pigments of the intact LHII fraction. The close similarity between the spectroscopic Bchl changes that accompany carotenoid extraction and the differential spectral features of carotenoidless LHII of Rhodobacter mutants, previously reported, strongly suggests that the direct cause of the spectral modifications is the absence of carotenoid and not any independent effect of the experimental manipulation of the membrane. Several interpretations of the structural changes that underlie the observed spectral changes are possible. The simplest one is to assume that carotenoid removal elicits an alteration in the angle between the Qy transition moments of two strongly interacting Bchl molecules.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.