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The Dynamic Protein Matrix in Photosynthesis: From Disorder to Life

Objective

In photosynthesis solar light is harvested by an antenna, the energy is transferred to the photosynthetic reaction center where a charge separation occurs. These processes occur on an ultrafast timescale and result in a stable product. The photosynthetic apparatus consists of a complex set of pigment-proteins that perform these delicate processes with a quantum efficiency close to 1. Proteins are intrinsically disordered and display dynamics over a fast range oof times, from femtoseconds to seconds. In this proposal I wish to explore how this dynamic protein matrix facilitates or maybe even drives the primary events of photosynthesis. Together with my co-investigator Bruno Robert I plan to investigate four aspects of how the protein matrix may affect this important biological process. In the first project we will study if the charge separation in Photosystem 2 occurs along multiple pathways, depending on the realization of the disorder. Project 2 concerns the possible role of quantum coherence in charge separation in Photosystem 2. In project 3 we will investigate how the dynamic protein matrix maybe even actively stabilizes the early charge separation. Project 4 aims to find out how functional transitions in photosynthetic proteins are coupled to conformational changes. The latter relates to the idea that the peripheral light-harvesting complex of plants, LHCII, plays a role in photoprotection by switching between a light-harvesting state and a quenching state. The project combines a number of state-of-the-art biophysical approaches and furthermore aims to develop new techniques: 2-dimensional electronic spectroscopy and plasmon wave resonance spectroscopy. The final result will deliver a unique view on how the physics of protein matter manifests itself in biology.

Call for proposal

ERC-2010-AdG_20100224
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-AG - ERC Advanced Grant

Host institution

STICHTING VU
Address
De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
Netherlands
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 2 172 616,66
Principal investigator
Rienk Van Grondelle (Prof.)
Administrative Contact
Bart Van Leijen (Mr.)

Beneficiaries (3)

STICHTING VU
Netherlands
EU contribution
€ 2 172 616,66
Address
De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Principal investigator
Rienk Van Grondelle (Prof.)
Administrative Contact
Bart Van Leijen (Mr.)
COMMISSARIAT A L ENERGIE ATOMIQUE ET AUX ENERGIES ALTERNATIVES
France
EU contribution
€ 691 783,34
Address
Rue Leblanc 25
75015 Paris 15
Activity type
Research Organisations
Administrative Contact
Eliane Deck-Chaumont (Ms.)
VERENIGING VOOR CHRISTELIJK HOGER ONDERWIJS WETENSCHAPPELIJK ONDERZOEK EN PATIENTENZORG

Participation ended

Netherlands
Address
De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Dirkje Schinkelshoek (Ms.)