Energetics of bacterial photosynthesis

David N. Lebard, Dmitry Matyushov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


We report the results of extensive numerical simulations and theoretical calculations of electronic transitions in the reaction center of Rhodobacter sphaeroides photosynthetic bacterium. The energetics and kinetics of five electronic transitions related to the kinetic scheme of primary charge separation have been analyzed and compared to experimental observations. Nonergodic formulation of the reaction kinetics is required for the calculation of the rates due to a severe breakdown of the system ergodicity on the time scale of primary charge separation, with the consequent inapplicability of the standard canonical prescription to calculate the activation barrier. Common to all reactions studied is a significant excess of the charge-transfer reorganization energy from the width of the energy gap fluctuations over that from the Stokes shift of the transition. This property of the hydrated proteins, breaking the linear response of the thermal bath, allows the reaction center to significantly reduce the reaction free energy of near-activationless electron hops and thus raise the overall energetic efficiency of the biological charge-transfer chain. The increase of the rate of primary charge separation with cooling is explained in terms of the temperature variation of induction solvation, which dominates the average donor-acceptor energy gap for all electronic transitions in the reaction center. It is also suggested that the experimentally observed break in the Arrhenius slope of the primary recombination rate, occurring near the temperature of the dynamical transition in proteins, can be traced back to a significant drop of the solvent reorganization energy close to that temperature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12424-12437
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number36
StatePublished - Sep 10 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Energetics of bacterial photosynthesis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this