Quieting a noisy antenna reproduces photosynthetic light-harvesting spectra

Arp, T. B., Kistner-Morris, J., Aji, V., Cogdell, R. J. , van Grondelle, R. and Gabor, N. M. (2020) Quieting a noisy antenna reproduces photosynthetic light-harvesting spectra. Science, 368(6498), pp. 1490-1495. (doi: 10.1126/science.aba6630) (PMID:32587021)

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Photosynthesis achieves near unity light-harvesting quantum efficiency yet it remains unknown whether there exists a fundamental organizing principle giving rise to robust light harvesting in the presence of dynamic light conditions and noisy physiological environments. Here, we present a noise-canceling network model that relates noisy physiological conditions, power conversion efficiency, and the resulting absorption spectra of photosynthetic organisms. Using light conditions in full solar exposure, light filtered by oxygenic phototrophs, and light filtered under seawater, we derived optimal absorption characteristics for efficient solar power conversion. We show how light-harvesting antennae can be tuned to maximize power conversion efficiency by minimizing excitation noise, thus providing a unified theoretical basis for the observed wavelength dependence of absorption in green plants, purple bacteria, and green sulfur bacteria.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Cogdell, Professor Richard
Authors: Arp, T. B., Kistner-Morris, J., Aji, V., Cogdell, R. J., van Grondelle, R., and Gabor, N. M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Molecular Cell and Systems Biology
Journal Name:Science
Publisher:American Association for the Advancement of Science
ISSN (Online):1095-9203
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Authors
First Published:First published in Science 368(6498): 1490=1495
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy
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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
172826DNA-directed construction of three-dimensional photosynthetic assembliesAlasdair ClarkBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)BB/N016734/1ENG - Biomedical Engineering