It has already been established that the quaternary structure of the main light-harvesting complex (LH2) from the photosynthetic bacterium Rhodopseudomonas palustris is a nonameric 'ring' of PucAB heterodimers and under low-light culturing conditions an increased diversity of PucB synthesis occurs. In this work, single molecule fluorescence emission studies show that different classes of LH2 'rings' are present in "low-light" adapted cells and that an unknown chaperon process creates multiple sub-types of 'rings' with more conformational sub-states and configurations. This increase in spectral disorder significantly augments the cross-section for photon absorption and subsequent energy flow to the reaction centre trap when photon availability is a limiting factor. This work highlights yet another variant used by phototrophs to gather energy for cellular development.
Keywords: Light harvesting complexes; Photosynthesis; Purple bacteria; Single molecule spectroscopy.
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