Photosynthetic reaction centers

J. P. Allen, J. C. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

100 Citations (Scopus)


The reaction center is the key component for the primary events in the photochemical conversion of light into chemical energy. After excitation by light, a charge separation that spans the cell membrane is formed in the reaction center in a few hundred picoseconds with a quantum yield of essentially one. A conserved pattern in the cofactors and core proteins of reaction centers from different organisms can be defined based on comparisons of the three dimensional structure of two types of reaction centers. Different functional aspects of the reaction center are discussed, including the properties of the bacteriochlorophyll or chlorophyll dimer that constitutes the primary electron donor, the pathway of electron transfer, and the different functional roles of the electron acceptors. The implication of these results on the evolution of the reaction center is presented. Copyright (C) 1998 Federation of European Biochemical Societies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-9
Number of pages5
JournalFEBS Letters
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 30 1998


  • Evolution
  • Green bacterium
  • Photosystem I
  • Photosystem II
  • Plant
  • Purple bacterium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology

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