ABSTRACT: Monomolecular layers of the largest light-harvesting pigment-protein complex of Photosystem II (LHCII) were formed at the argon-water interface. The molecular area of the LHCII monomer in monomolecular layers determined from the isotherms of compression is found to be close to 14 nm2, which corresponds well to the molecular dimensions of the protein evaluated on the basis of crystallographic studies. Monolayers of LHCII were deposited on a glass support by means of the Langmuir-Blodgett technique and subjected to spectroscopic studies: electronic absorption spectrophotometry and spectrofluorometry. The fluorescence excitation spectra of chlorophyll a in monolayers of LHCII were analysed using gaussian deconvolution. Comparison of the absorption and fluorescence excitation spectra enabled calculation of the rate of excitation energy transfer in the system. Excitation energy was found to be transferred to chlorophyll a from chlorophyll b with 97% efficiency, from neoxanthin with 85%, from lutein with 62% and from violaxanthin with at least 54% efficiency. The analysis of the position of the 0-0 absorption band of the xanthophylls revealed that neoxanthin is located in the same protein environment as lutein but in a different environment than violaxanthin. The analysis of fluorescence excitation spectra of chlorophyll a in LHCII, recorded with the excitation light beam polarised in two orthogonal directions, enabled the determination of the mean orientation angle of the accessory xanthophyll pigments with respect to the plane of the sample. The mean orientation of lutein found in this study (approx. 51°) corresponds well to the crystallographic data. Neoxanthin was found to adopt a similar orientation to lutein. The transition dipole moment of violaxanthin was found to form a mean angle of 71° with the axis spanning two polar regions of the protein, perpendicular to the plane of the monolayer, suggesting planar orientation of this pigment with respect to the plane of the thylakoid membrane. These experimentally determined xanthophyll orientations are discussed in terms of importance of peripheral xanthophyll pigments in supramolecular organisation of LHCII and the operation of the xanthophyll cycle within the thylakoid membrane.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Bioenergetics.