The process by which light energy is harvested and transported to the photosynthetic reaction centre, where charge separation occurs has been investigated. It is desirable to characterize in detail the molecular structures and pigment protein complexes that are responsible for this unique process. Finally, genetic engineering can be used to produce mutants of the photosynthetic systems under study that lack one or more of the essential components or that have been specifically altered.
This research has been carried out with photosynthetic purple bacteria, particularly Rhodobacter sphaeroides and Rhodopseudomonas acidophila, for which mutagenesis systems are already available.
The main areas of study have been:
molecular genetics of bacterial light harvesting complexes;
the core antenna LH1 of purple bacteria;
the peripheral antenna LH2 of purple bacteria;
excitation dynamics and spectroscopy of mutants.
The proposed work seek to provide a broadly-based understanding of structure and function of light harvesting systems, using the simplest model system available - bacterial photosynthesis. At four locations, London, Glasgow, Amsterdam and Leiden the genetic, biochemical and biophysical properties will be examined, and through the construction and manipulation of mutant strains and purification of antenna complexes, new information will be obtained with regard to the special requirements of pigment-protein interactions necessary for efficient capture, transfer and trapping of light energy.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
2311 EZ Leiden
1007 MC Amsterdam