Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 193–203 | Cite as

Chlorosomes of green sulfur bacteria: Pigment composition and energy transfer

  • Paula I. van Noort
  • Christof Francke
  • Nicole Schoumans
  • Stephan C. M. Otte
  • Thijs J. Aartsma
  • Jan Amesz
Group 5: Chlorosomes and Pigments Regular Papers


The pigment composition and energy transfer pathways in isolated chlorosomes ofChlorobium phaeovibrioides andChlorobium vibrioforme were studied by means of high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and picosecond absorbance difference spectroscopy. Analysis of pigment extracts of the chlorosomes revealed that they contain small amounts of bacteriochlorophyll (BChl)a esterified with phytol, whereas the BChlsc, d ande are predominantly esterified with farnesol. The chlorosomal BChla content inC. phaeovibrioides andC. vibrioforme was found to be 1.5% and 0.9%, respectively. The time resolved absorbance difference spectra showed a bleaching shifted to longer wavelengths as compared to the Qy absorption maxima and in chlorosomes ofC. vibrioforme also an absorbance increase at shorter wavelengths was observed. These spectral features were ascribed to excitation of oligomers of BChle and BChlc/d, respectively. ‘One-color’ and ‘two-color’ pump-probe kinetics ofC. phaeovibrioides showed rapid energy transfer to long-wavelength absorbing BChle oligomers, followed by trapping of excitations by BChla with a time constant of about 60 ps. Time resolved anisotropy measurements inC. vibrioforme showed randomization of excitations among BChla molecules with a time constant of about 20 ps, indicating that BChla in the baseplate is organized in clusters. One-color and two-color pump-probe measurements inC. vibrioforme showed rapid energy transfer from short-wavelength to long-wavelength absorbing oligomers with a time constant of about 11 ps. Trapping of excitations by BChla in this species could not be resolved unambiguously due to annihilation processes in the BChla clusters, but may occur with time constants of 15, 70 and 200 ps.

Key words

bacteriochlorophylla bacteriochlorophyllc Chlorobium phaeovibrioides Chlorobium vibrioforme picosecond absorption spectroscopy 




[P,E] BChlcF

8-propyl, 12-ethyl BChlc, esterified with farnesol (F). Analogously






phytol (see K. M. Smith, this issue)


High Performance Liquid Chromatography


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Amesz J (1991) Green photosynthetic bacteria and heliobacteria. In: Shively JM and Barton LL (eds) Variations in Autotrophic Life, pp 99–119. Academic Press Ltd LondonGoogle Scholar
  2. Betti JA, Blankenship RE, Natarajan LV, Dickinson LC and Fuller RC (1982) Antenna organization and evidence for the function of a new antenna pigment species in the green photosynthetic bacteriumChloroflexus aurantiacus. Biochim Biophys Acta 680: 194–201Google Scholar
  3. Blankenship RE, Cheng PE, Causgrove TP, Brune DC, Wang SH, Choh J and Wang J (1993) Redox regulation of energy transfer efficiency in antennas of green photosynthetic bacteria. Photochem Photobiol 57: 103–107Google Scholar
  4. Bobe FW, Pfennig N, Swanson KL and Smith KM (1990) Red shift of absorption maxima in Chlorobiineae through enzymic methylation of their antenna bacteriochlorophylls. Biochemistry 29: 4340–4348Google Scholar
  5. Brune DC, Nozawa I and Blankenship RE (1987) Antenna organization in green photosynthetic bacteria. I. Oligomeric bacteriochlorophyllc as a model for the 740 nm absorbing bacteriochlorophyllc inChloroflexus aurantiacus chlorosomes. Biochemistry 26: 8644–8652Google Scholar
  6. Causgrove TP, Brune DC, Wang J, Wittmershaus BP and Blankenship RE (1990) Energy transfer kinetics in whole cells and isolated chlorosomes of green photosynthetic bacteria. Photosynth Res 26: 39–48Google Scholar
  7. Causgrove TP, Brune DC and Blankenship RE (1992) Förster energy transfer in chlorosomes of green photosynthetic bacteria. J Photochem Photobiol B Biol 15: 171–179Google Scholar
  8. Fetisova ZG, Freiberg AM and Timpmann KE (1988) Long-range molecular order as an efficient strategy for light harvesting in photosynthesis. Nature 334: 633–634Google Scholar
  9. Gerola PD and Olson JM (1986) A new bacteriochlorophylla protein complex associated with chlorosomes of green sulfur bacteria. Biochim Biophys Acta 848: 69–76Google Scholar
  10. Gillbro T, Sandström A, Sundström V and Olson JM (1988) Picosecond energy transfer kinetics in chlorosomes and bacteriochlorophylla proteins ofChlorobium limicola. In: Olson JM, Ormerod JG, Amesz J, Stackebrandt E and Trüper HG (eds) Green Photosynthetic Bacteria, pp 91–96. Plenum Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  11. Gloe A, Pfennig N, Brockmann H and Trowitzsch W (1975) A new bacteriochlorophyll from brown-colored Chlorobiaceae. Arch Microbiol 102: 103–109Google Scholar
  12. Hirota M, Moriyama T, Shimada K, Miller M, Olson JM and Matsuura K (1992) High degree of organization of bacteriochlorophyllc in chlorosome-like aggregates spontaneously assembled in aqueous solution. Biochim Biophys Acta 1099: 271–274Google Scholar
  13. Hoff AJ and Amesz J (1991) Visible absorption spectroscopy of chlorophylls. In: Scheer H (ed) Chlorophylls, pp 723–738, CRC Press, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar
  14. Holzwarth AR, Müller MG and Griebenow K (1990) Picosecond energy transfer kinetics between pigment pools in different preparations of chlorosomes from the green bacteriumChloroflexus aurantiacus Ok-70-fl. J Photochem Photobiol B Biol: 457–465Google Scholar
  15. Holzwarth AR, Griebenow K and Schaffner K (1992) Chlorosomes, photosynthetic antennae with novel self-organized pigment structures. J Photochem Photobiol A Chem 65: 61–71Google Scholar
  16. Lin S, vanAmerongen H and Struve WS (1991) Ultrafast pumpprobe spectroscopy of bacteriochlorophyllc antennae in bacteriochlorophylla containing chlorosomes from the green photosynthetic bacteriumChloroflexus aurantiacus. Biochim Biophys Acta 1060: 13–24Google Scholar
  17. Maly P, Danielius R and Gadonas R (1987) Picosecond absorption spectroscopy of chlorophylla dihydrate. Photochem Photobiol 45: 7–11Google Scholar
  18. Mimuro M, Nozawa T, Tamai N, Shimada K, Yamazaki I, Lin S, Knox RS, Wittmershaus BP, Brune DC and Blankenship RE (1989) Excitation energy flow in chlorosome antennas of green photosynthetic bacteria. J Phys Chem 93: 7503–7509Google Scholar
  19. Müller MG, Griebenow K and Holzwarth AR (1993) Picosecond energy transfer and trapping kinetics in living cells of the green bacteriumChloroflexus aurantiacus. Biochim Biophys Acta 1144: 161–169Google Scholar
  20. Novoderezhkin VI and Razjivin AP (1993) Excitonic interaction in the light-harvesting antenna of photosynthetic purple bacteria and their influence on picosecond absorbance difference spectra. FEBS Lett 330: 5–7Google Scholar
  21. Nuijs AM, vanGrondelle R, Joppe HLP, vanBochove AC and Duysens LNM (1986) A picosecond-absorption study on bacteriochlorophyll excitation, trapping and primary charge separation in chromatophores ofRhodospirillum rubrum. Biochim Biophys Acta 850: 286–293Google Scholar
  22. Olson JM (1980) Chlorophyll organization in green photosynthetic bacteria. Biochim Biophys Acta 594: 33–51Google Scholar
  23. Olson JM, Gerola PD, vanBrakel GH, Meiburg RF and Vasmel H (1985) Bacteriochlorophylla andc protein complexes from chlorosomes of green sulfur bacteria compared with bacteriochlorophyllc aggregates in CH2Cl2-hexane. In: Michel-Beyerle ME (ed) Antennas and Reaction Centers of Photosynthetic Bacteria, pp 67–73. Springer-Verlag, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  24. Otte SCM (1992) Pigment systems in photosynthetic bacteria and photosystem II of green plants. Doctoral thesis, University of Leiden, The NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  25. Otte SCM, van derHeiden J, Pfennig N and Amesz J (1991) A comparative study of the optical characteristics of intact cells of photosynthetic green sulfur bacteria containing bacteriochlorophyllc, d ore. Photosynth Res 28: 77–87Google Scholar
  26. Otte SCM, van deMeent EJ, vanVeelen PA, Pundsness AS and Amesz J (1993) Identification of the major chlorosomal bacteriochlorophylls of the green sulfur bacteriaChlorobium vibrioforme andChlorobium phaeovibrioides: their function in lateral energy transfer. Photosynth Res 35: 159–169Google Scholar
  27. Staehelin LA, Golecki JR, Fuller RC and Drews G (1978) Visualization of the supramolecular architecture of chlorosomes (Chlorobium type vesicles) in freeze-fractured cells ofChloroflexus aurantiacus. Arch Microbiol 119: 269–277Google Scholar
  28. Staehelin LA, Golecki JR and Drews G (1980) Supramolecular organization of chlorosomes (Chlorobium vesicles) and of their membrane attachment sites inChlorobium limicola. Biochim Biophys Acta 589: 30–45Google Scholar
  29. Van deMeent EJ, Kobayashi M, Erkelens C, vanVeelen PA, Otte SCM, Inoue K, Watanabe T and Amesz J (1992) The nature of the primary acceptor in green sulfur bacteria. Biochim Biophys Acta 1102: 371–378Google Scholar
  30. VanDorssen RJ, Gerola PD, Olson JM and Amesz J (1986) Optical and structural properties of chlorosomes of the photosynthetic green sulfur bacteriumChlorobium limicola. Biochim Biophys Acta 848: 77–82Google Scholar
  31. VanNoort PI, Gormin DA, Aartsma TJ and Amesz J (1992) Energy transfer and picosecond charge separation inHeliobacterium chlorum studied by picosecond time resolved transient absorption spectroscopy. Biochim Biophys Acta 1140: 15–21Google Scholar
  32. Vos M, Nuijs AM, vanGrondelle R, vanDorssen RJ, Rerola PD and Amesz J (1987) Excitation transfer in chlorosomes of green photosynthetic bacteria. Biochim Biophys Acta 891: 275–285Google Scholar
  33. Wang J, Brune DC and Blankenship RE (1990) Effects of oxidants and reductants on the efficiency of excitation transfer in green photosynthetic bacteria. Biochim Biophys Acta 1015: 457–463Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paula I. van Noort
    • 1
  • Christof Francke
    • 1
  • Nicole Schoumans
    • 1
  • Stephan C. M. Otte
    • 1
  • Thijs J. Aartsma
    • 1
  • Jan Amesz
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biophysics, Huygens LaboratoryLeiden UniversityLeidenThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations