carotenoid state nature nonphotochemical

In plants, light-harvesting complexes serve as antennas to collect and transfer the absorbed energy to reaction centers, but also regulate energy transport by dissipating the excitation energy of chlorophylls. This process, known as nonphotochemical quenching, seems to be activated by conformational changes within the light-harvesting complex, but the quenching mechanisms remain elusive. Recent spectroscopic measurements suggest the carotenoid S* dark state as the quencher of chlorophylls’ excitation. By investigating lutein embedded in different conformations of CP29 (a minor antenna in plants) via nonadiabatic excited state dynamics simulations, we reveal that different conformations of the complex differently stabilize the lutein s-trans conformer with respect to the dominant s-cis one. We show that the s-trans conformer presents the spectroscopic signatures of the S* state and rationalize its ability to accept energy from the closest excited chlorophylls, providing thus a relationship between the complex’s conformation and the nonphotochemical quenching.

Accomasso, D.; Londi, G.; Cupellini, L. & Mennucci, B.
Nat Commun 15, 847 (2024).

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MOLECOLAB - Research Group at the Department of Chemistry of the University of Pisa
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