Mechanisms underlying carotenoid absorption in oxygenic photosynthetic proteins

Maria M. Mendes-Pinto, Denise Galzerano, Alison Telfer, Andrew A. Pascal, Bruno Robert, Cristian Ilioaia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


The electronic properties of carotenoid molecules underlie their multiple functions throughout biology, and tuning of these properties by their in vivo locus is of vital importance in a number of cases. This is exemplified by photosynthetic carotenoids, which perform both light-harvesting and photoprotective roles essential to the photosynthetic process. However, despite a large number of scientific studies performed in this field, the mechanism( s) used to modulate the electronic properties of carotenoids remain elusive.Wehave chosen two specific cases, the two β-carotene molecules in photosystem II reaction centers and the two luteins in the major photosystem II light-harvesting complex, to investigate how such a tuning of their electronic structure may occur. Indeed, in each case, identical molecular species in the same protein are seen to exhibit different electronic properties (most notably, shifted absorption peaks). We assess which molecular parameters are responsible for this in vivo tuning process and attempt to assign it to specific molecular events imposed by their binding pockets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18758-18765
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number26
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes


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