Orientation and excitonic interactions of the Fenna-Matthews-Olson bacteriochlorophyll a protein in membranes of the green sulfur bacterium Chlorobium tepidum

Alexander N. Melkozernov, John M. Olson, Yi Fen Li, James P. Allen, Robert E. Blankenship

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Linear and circular dichroism spectra of isolated bacteriochlorophyll a proteins (FMO proteins) and membrane vesicles containing FMO protein from the green sulfur bacterium Chlorobium tepidum were measured at room temperature and 77 K. The orientation of membranes and isolated FMO protein was obtained by gel squeezing. Linear dichroism (LD) data indicate that isolated FMO protein and membrane vesicles associated with the FMO protein are oriented in a similar way in a squeezed polyacrylamide gel. Both samples show a characteristic negative LD band around 814 nm with flanking positive bands at 802 and 824 nm ascribed to the Q(y) excitonic transitions of BChl a of the FMO protein. This confirms that the C3 symmetry axis of the trimer is perpendicular to the membrane plane, which is supported by the model of the disc-like structure of FMO protein trimers of Cb. tepidum [Li Yi-Fen, Zhou W, Blankenship RE, and Allen JP (1997) J Mol Biol 272:456-471]. The LD data are consistent with either BChl 3 or 6, but not 7 as the principal contributor to the low temperature band at 825 nm. The low temperature linear and circular dichroism spectra of FMO protein trimers from Chlorobium tepidum show significant differences from the low temperature LD and CD spectra of FMO protein trimers from Prosthecochloris aestuarii. The data are interpreted in terms of somewhat different pigment-protein and pigment-pigment interactions in the two complexes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-328
Number of pages14
JournalPhotosynthesis Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1998



  • Antenna
  • Bacteriochlorophyll a protein
  • Chlorobium tepidum
  • Circular dichroism
  • FMO protein
  • Linear dichroism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology

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