The photochemical reaction center of the bacteriochlorophyll b-containing organism Thiocapsa pfennigii

Richard E.B. Seftor*, J. Philip Thornber

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


A photochemical reaction-center preparation has been made from a second bacteriochlorophyll b-containing organism, Thiocapsa pfennigii. The reaction-center unit is thought to be composed of one P-960, four bacteriochlorophyll, two bacteriopheophytin, one carotenoid molecules and polypeptides of Mr 40000, 37000, 34000, 27000 and 26000 probably plus quinones and metal atoms. The preparation also contains a low-potential cytochrome c-555 and a high-potential cytochrome c-557 bound to the reaction center in a 3-4:2-3:1 molar ratio with respect to P-960. The 40 kDa subunit is associated with the cytochromes, while the 37, 34 and 27 + 26 kDa subunits are proposed to be equivalent to the H, M and L polypeptides of bacteriochlorophyll a-containing reaction centers. The cytochromes are oxidized by P-960+. The three near-infrared absorption bands at 788, 840 and 968 nm are assigned to bacteriopheophytin, bacteriochlorophyll and the primary donor (P-960), respectively. The 778 nm peak resolves into two at 77 K; no further resolution of the other two peaks occurs. Illumination of the sodium dithionite-reduced reaction centers at 77 K by 960 nm-light results in P-960, transferring one electron from cytochrome c-555 mainly to a bacteriopheophytin molecule, absorbing at 781 nm. A similar treatment at room temperatures reduces most of the two bacteriopheophytin molecules. It is argued that both bacteriopheophytin molecules, possibly with some contribution from bacteriochlorophyll, form an intermediary electron-carrier complex between P-960 and a quinone in T. pfennigii. We could not substantiate that a bacteriochlorophyll molecule precedes the bacteriopheophytins in the electron transfer sequence. Although the biochemical characteristics of the reaction center are very similar to those of the other known bacterioclorophyll b-containing reaction center, that from Rhodopseudomonas viridis, their spectral characteristics are not. This has helped elucidate more about the function of each spectral form and led us to conclude that the 850 nm form in Rps. viridis is not the higher energy transition of the special pair of bacteriochlorophyll molecules forming P-960. Laser-flash-in-duced absorbance changes in T. pfennigii reaction-center preparation should now lead to a more complete understanding of the mechanism of the primary photochemical event.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-159
Number of pages12
JournalBBA - Bioenergetics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 27 1984
Externally publishedYes


  • (T. pfennigii)
  • Bacterial photosynthesis
  • Bacteriochlorophyll
  • Reaction center

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'The photochemical reaction center of the bacteriochlorophyll b-containing organism Thiocapsa pfennigii'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this