Universiteit Leiden Universiteit Leiden

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The heart of oxygenic photosynthesis illuminated

Promotor: Prof.dr. H.J.M de Groot, Co-Promotor: A. Alia

Auteur G.J. Janssen
Links Thesis in Leiden Repository

Photosynthesis in plants, algae and cyanobacteria releases oxygen and is referred to as oxygenic photosynthesis. Among all the photosynthetic reaction centers only PSII provides a redox potential sufficiently strong for water oxidation. While the electron flow in PSII is strictly asymmetric, in PSI different levels of bidirectionality indicate functional flexibility of this complex. Photo-CIDNP is non-Boltzmann nuclear magnetization caused by photochemical reactions and can be observed by NMR spectroscopy as strongly enhanced absorptive or emissive signals. In this thesis photo-CIDNP solid state NMR with selective isotope labeling is applied to get direct access to the heart of large PSII and PSI photosynthetic complexes in intact and isolated systems of Spirodela oligorrhiza and Synechocyctis. For the first time the direct observation of selective atoms within the heart of the PSII and PSI complexes by experiment s on entire plants and whole cells is reported. In this way the conservation of the electronic structure of the PSII electron donor at various levels of biological preparations have been addressed and the electron spin density (ρi) in the active cofactors of PSI has been constructed. In addition the functional heterogeneity of the PSI electron donor among different plant species was probed.