Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 127, Issue 2, pp 161–170 | Cite as

Enhanced photocurrent from Photosystem I upon in vitro truncation of the antennae chlorophyll

  • J. Ridge Carter
  • David R. Baker
  • T. Austin Witt
  • Barry D. Bruce
Regular Paper


Current effects on climate change and dwindling fossil fuel reserves require new materials and methods to convert solar energy into a viable clean energy source. Recent progress in the direct conversion of light into photocurrent has been well documented using Photosystem I. In plants, PSI consists of a core complex and multiple light-harvesting complexes, denoted LHCI and LHCII. Most of the methods for isolating PSI from plants involve a selective, detergent solubilization from thylakoids followed by sucrose gradient density centrifugation. These processes isolate one variant of PSI with a specific ratio of Chl:P700. In this study, we have developed a simple and potentially scalable method for isolating multiple PSI variants using Hydroxyapatite chromatography, which has been well documented in other Photosystem I isolation protocols. By varying the wash conditions, we show that it is possible to change the Chl:P700 ratios. These different PSI complexes were cast into a PSI–Nafion–osmium polymer film that enabled their photoactivity to be measured. Photocurrent increases nearly 400 % between highly washed and untreated solutions based on equal chlorophyll content. Importantly, the mild washing conditions remove peripheral Chl and some LHCI without inhibiting the photochemical activity of PSI as suggested by SDS-PAGE analysis. This result could indicate that more P700 could be loaded per surface area for biohybrid devices. Compared with other PSI isolations, this protocol also allows isolation of multiple PSI variants without loss of photochemical activity.


Photosystem I Hydroxyapatite Photocurrent Chlorophyll Light-harvesting complex I, II 



We would like to thank the Army Research Laboratories (ARL Contract #W91 1NF-11-2-0029), TN-SCORE sponsored by NSF-EPSCoR (EPS-1004083), and the Gibson Family Foundation for the generous funding for this project. We also appreciate the support and feedback provided by Khoa Nguyen, Prakitchai Chotewutmontri, and Richard Simmerman, and Ed Wright while conducting this research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Ridge Carter
    • 1
  • David R. Baker
    • 2
  • T. Austin Witt
    • 1
  • Barry D. Bruce
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular BiologyUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA
  2. 2.Sensors and Electron Devices DirectorateUnited States Army Research LaboratoryAdelphiUSA
  3. 3.Program in Energy Science and EngineeringUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA

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