Charge separation in a reaction center incorporating bacteriochlorophyll for photoactive bacteriopheophytin

Science  22 Feb 1991:
Vol. 251, Issue 4996, pp. 922-927
DOI: 10.1126/science.2000491


Site-directed mutagenic replacement of M subunit Leu214 by His in the photosynthetic reaction center (RC) from Rhodobacter sphaeroides results in incorporation of a bacteriochlorophyll molecule (BChl) in place of the native bacteriopheophytin (BPh) electron acceptor. Evidence supporting this conclusion includes the ground-state absorption spectrum of the (M)L214H mutant, pigment and metal analyses, and time-resolved optical experiments. The genetically modified RC supports transmembrane charge separation from the photoexcited BChl dimer to the primary quinone through the new BChl molecule, but with a reduced quantum yield of 60 percent (compared to 100 percent in wild-type RCs). These results have important implications for the mechanism of charge separation in the RC, and rationalize the choice of (bacterio)pheophytins as electron acceptors in a variety of photosynthetic systems.