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Issue 22, 2011
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First-principles calculation of electronic spectra of light-harvesting complex II

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We report on a fully quantum chemical investigation of important structural and environmental effects on the site energies of chlorophyll pigments in green-plant light-harvesting complex II (LHC II). Among the tested factors are technical and structural aspects as well as effects of neighboring residues and exciton couplings in the chlorophyll network. By employing a subsystem time-dependent density functional theory (TDDFT) approach based on the frozen density embedding (FDE) method we are able to determine site energies and electronic couplings separately in a systematic way. This approach allows us to treat much larger systems in a quantum chemical way than would be feasible with a conventional density functional theory. Based on this method, we have simulated a series of mutagenesis experiments to investigate the effect of a lack of one pigment in the chlorophyll network on the excitation properties of the other pigments. From these calculations, we can conclude that conformational changes within the chlorophyll molecules, direct interactions with neighboring residues, and interactions with other chlorophyll pigments can lead to non-negligible changes in excitation energies. All of these factors are important when site energies shall be calculated with high accuracy. Moreover, the redistribution of the oscillator strengths due to exciton coupling has a large impact on the calculated absorption spectra. This indicates that modeling mutagenesis experiments requires us to consider the entire set of chlorophyll molecules in the wild type and in the mutant, rather than just considering the missing chlorophyll pigment. An analysis of the mixing of particular excitations and the coupling elements in the FDEc calculation indicates that some pigments in the chlorophyll network act as bridges which mediate the interaction between other pigments. These bridges are also supported by the calculations on the “mutants” lacking the bridging pigment.

Graphical abstract: First-principles calculation of electronic spectra of light-harvesting complex II

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The article was received on 07 Dec 2010, accepted on 03 Feb 2011 and first published on 02 Mar 2011

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C0CP02808H
Citation: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2011,13, 10475-10490
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    First-principles calculation of electronic spectra of light-harvesting complex II

    C. König and J. Neugebauer, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2011, 13, 10475
    DOI: 10.1039/C0CP02808H

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