The structure of photosystem I from the thermophilic cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus has been recently resolved by x-ray crystallography to 2.5-Å resolution. Besides the reaction center, photosystem I consists also of a core antenna containing 90 chlorophyll and 22 carotenoid molecules. It is their function to harvest solar energy and to transfer this energy to the reaction center (RC) where the excitation energy is converted into a charge separated state. Methods of steady-state optical spectroscopy such as absorption, linear, and circular dichroism have been applied to obtain information on the spectral properties of the complex, whereas transient absorption and fluorescence studies reported in the literature provide information on the dynamics of the excitation energy transfer. On the basis of the structure, the spectral properties and the energy transfer kinetics are simultaneously modeled by application of excitonic coupling theory to reveal relationships between structure and function. A spectral assignment of the 96 chlorophylls is suggested that allows us to reproduce both optical spectra and transfer and emission spectra and lifetimes of the photosystem I complex from S. elongatus. The model calculation allowed to study the influence of the following parameters on the excited state dynamics: the orientation factor, the heterogeneous site energies, the modifications arising from excitonic coupling (redistribution of oscillator strength, energetic splitting, reorientation of transition dipoles), and presence or absence of the linker cluster chlorophylls between antenna and reaction center. For the Förster radius and the intrinsic primary charge separation rate, the following values have been obtained: R0 = 7.8 nm and kcs = 0.9 ps-⊣. Variations of these parameters indicate that the excited state dynamics is neither pure trap limited, nor pure transfer (to-the-trap) limited but seems to be rather balanced.
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