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Issue 41, 2019
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Why are photosynthetic reaction centres dimeric?

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Abstract

All photosynthetic organisms convert solar energy into chemical energy through charge separation in dimeric reaction centres. It is unknown why early reaction centres dimerised and completely displaced their monomeric ancestors. Here, we discuss several proposed explanations for reaction-centre dimerism and conclude—with only weak assumptions about the primordial dimerisation event—that the most probable explanation for the dimerism is that it arose because it enhanced light-harvesting efficiency by deepening the excitonic trap, i.e., by enhancing the rate of exciton transfer from an antenna complex and decreasing the rate of back transfer. This effect would have outweighed the negative effect dimerisation would have had on charge transfer within the reaction centre. Our argument implies that dimerisation likely occurred after the evolution of the first antennas, and it explains why the lower-energy state of the special pair is bright.

Graphical abstract: Why are photosynthetic reaction centres dimeric?

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Article information


Submitted
28 Jul 2019
Accepted
23 Aug 2019
First published
26 Aug 2019

This article is Open Access
All publication charges for this article have been paid for by the Royal Society of Chemistry

Chem. Sci., 2019,10, 9576-9585
Article type
Edge Article

Why are photosynthetic reaction centres dimeric?

N. Taylor and I. Kassal, Chem. Sci., 2019, 10, 9576
DOI: 10.1039/C9SC03712H

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported Licence. Material from this article can be used in other publications provided that the correct acknowledgement is given with the reproduced material and it is not used for commercial purposes.

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    [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the European Society for Photobiology, the European Photochemistry Association, and RSC.
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    [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry.

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