Uncategorized why are there several structurally different pigments in the...

why are there several structurally different pigments in the reaction centers of photosystems?

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Photosystems are the complex molecules that make up chlorophyll in plants and algae. They are found in almost every plant on Earth and they use light to capture energy from sunlight. A photosystem is made up of a central reaction center, known as an antenna, a light harvesting medium or pigment, called chlorophyll or phycobilisoids (a type of pigment), semi-conductors that help transfer the energy absorbed by the pigment into chemical potential, water molecules called plastoquinones which carry around electrons for this process, two types of proteins which catalyze reactions inside the reaction center, oxygen evolution proteins and nitrogen fixation proteins. The oxygen evolution proteins are responsible for the splitting of water molecules to form oxygen and hydrogen. The nitrogen fixation proteins enable nitrogen fixing reactions which convert atmospheric dinitrogen gas into ammonia. Overall, photosystems are extremely efficient machines that capture solar energy, transfer it through a series of chemical reactions that produce energy in the form of ATP and NADPH, two important biomolecules for all life on Earth.

pigments 1624963897
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The reason for having so many different pigments within the photosystem is to absorb a variety of colors of light. Sunlight is made up not just of blue and green light, but also infrared radiation (IR), ultraviolet radiation (UV) and other colors invisible to the human eye. IR, UV, and other light energy is converted into chemical energy in the form of ATP in photosynthesis. This energy is transported from the reaction center to plastoquinone molecules (plastoquinone molecules carry electrons around and are sometimes referred to as mobile carriers). The electrons ultimately leave the plastoquinones and travel through complexes 1 through 4 (details below) to various electron acceptors.

The electrons travel to their final destination through metal-oxygen sigma (σ) bonds via intermediates that get passivated by water molecules or can travel through other bonds such as ethylene glycol or methylamine bonds. The water-mediated reactions are usually more favorable than ethylene glycol and/or methylamine mediated reactions.

All the proteins in photosystems are arranged in thylakoid membranes. Thylakoids are stacked, membrane-encased organelles that contain water and other small molecules. This arrangement allows for the sequential transfer of electrons through the protein complexes during electron transport. There are four major protein complexes in photosystems, known as photosystem I (PSI), photosystem II (PSII), NADPH oxidase, and plastoquinol oxidase.

During photosynthesis, the chlorophyll in photosystems absorb light energy and transfer electrons to a reaction center. The reaction center contains the protein PSII to which 4 chlorophylls are attached. The reaction center also contains iron-sulfur clusters which catalyze reactions that split water. This process releases oxygen gas from water molecules and produces hydrogen ions. One of the proteins within PSII called D1 helps to couple light energy absorption with electron transport from PSII to NADP+ (an electron acceptor). The electrons ultimately leave PSII and travel through the cytochrome “b” and ferredoxin “f” protein complexes. The ferredoxin “f” complex helps to reduce NADP+ and creates NADPH (an electron acceptor). Following this chain of enzyme-mediated reactions, ADP + Pi + oxidized ferredoxin “f” → NADPH + oxidized ferredoxin “f”, which produces one molecule of ATP.

pigments 1624963897
pigments 1624963897

The electrons travel to their final destination through metal-oxygen sigma (σ) bonds via intermediates that get passivated by water molecules or can travel through other bonds such as ethylene glycol or methylamine bonds. The water mediated reactions are usually more favorable than ethylene glycol and/or methylamine mediated reactions. The electrons ultimately leave PSII and travel through the cytochrome “b” and ferredoxin “f” protein complexes. The ferredoxin “f” complex helps to reduce NADP+ and creates NADPH (an electron acceptor). Following this chain of enzyme-mediated reactions, ADP + Pi + oxidized ferredoxin “f” → NADPH + oxidized ferredoxin “f”, which produces one molecule of ATP.

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