Light-harvesting processes in the dynamic photosynthetic antenna

Phys Chem Chem Phys. 2013 Nov 21;15(43):18752-70. doi: 10.1039/c3cp51878g.


We present our perspective on the theoretical basis of light-harvesting within the photosynthetic membrane. Far from being a static structure, the photosynthetic membrane is a highly dynamic system, with protein mobility playing an important role in the damage/repair cycle of photosystem II (PSII), in balancing the input of energy between PSI and PSII, and in the photoprotection of PSII in response to a sudden excess of illumination. The concept of a photosynthetic antenna is illustrated and the state transition phenomenon is discussed as an example of purposeful antenna mobility. We discuss fluorescence recovery after photo-bleaching as a technique for visualising membrane mobility, before introducing light-induced grana membrane reorganisation as an integral part of the rapid photoprotective switch in plants. We then discuss current theoretical approaches to modelling the energy transfer dynamics of the PSII antenna: the atomistic models of intra-complex transfer and the coarse-grained approach to the inter-complex dynamics. Finally we discuss the future prospect of extending these methods, beyond the static picture of the membrane, to the dynamic PSII photosynthetic antenna.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Energy Transfer
  • Light-Harvesting Protein Complexes / chemistry
  • Light-Harvesting Protein Complexes / metabolism
  • Models, Molecular
  • Photobleaching
  • Photosynthesis*
  • Photosystem II Protein Complex / chemistry
  • Photosystem II Protein Complex / metabolism*
  • Plants / metabolism
  • Thylakoids / metabolism


  • Light-Harvesting Protein Complexes
  • Photosystem II Protein Complex