Chlorophyll fluorescence decay kinetics in photosynthesis are dependent on processes of excitation energy transfer, charge separation, and electron transfer in photosystem II (PSII). The interpretation of fluorescence decay kinetics and their accurate simulation by an appropriate kinetic model is highly dependent upon assumptions made concerning the homogeneity and activity of PSII preparations. While relatively simple kinetic models assuming sample heterogeneity have been used to model fluorescence decay in oxygen-evolving PSII core complexes, more complex models have been applied to the electron transport impaired but more highly purified D1-D2-cyt b559 preparations. To gain more insight into the excited-state dynamics of PSII and to characterize the origins of multicomponent fluorescence decay, we modeled the emission kinetics of purified highly active His-tagged PSII core complexes with structure-based kinetic models. The fluorescence decay kinetics of PSII complexes contained a minimum of three exponential decay components at F0 and four components at Fm. These kinetics were not described well with the single radical pair energy level model, and the introduction of either static disorder or a dynamic relaxation of the radical pair energy level was required to simulate the fluorescence decay adequately. An unreasonably low yield of charge stabilization and wide distribution of energy levels was required for the static disorder model, and we found the assumption of dynamic relaxation of the primary radical pair to be more suitable. Comparison modeling of the fluorescence decay kinetics from PSII core complexes and D1-D2-cyt b559 reaction centers indicated that the rates of charge separation and relaxation of the radical pair are likely altered in isolated reaction centers.
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