Mimicking the Photosynthetic Triplet Energy-Transfer Relay

Devens Gust, Thomas Moore, Ana Moore, Alexander A. Krasnovsky, Paul A. Lidell, David Nicodem, Janice M. DeGraziano, Pamela Kerrigan, Lewis R. Making, Peter J. Pessiki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


In the reaction centers of photosynthetic organisms, chlorophyll triplet states are sometimes formed by recombination of charge-separated intermediates. These triplets are excellent sensitizers for singlet oxygen formation. Carotenoid polyenes can provide photoprotection from singlet oxygen generation by rapidly quenching chlorophyll triplet states via triplet-triplet energy transfer. Because in bacteria the reaction center carotenoid is not located adjacent to the bacteriochlorophyll special pair, which is the origin of the charge separation, it has been postulated that quenching may occur via a triplet relay involving an intermediate chlorophyll monomer. We now report the synthesis and spectroscopic study of a covalently linked carotenoid (C)-porphyrin (P)-pyropheophorbide (Ppd) triad molecule which mimics this triplet relay. The pyropheophorbide singlet-state C-P-1Ppd (generated by direct excitation or energy transfer from the attached porphyrin) undergoes intersystem crossing to the triplet C-P-3Ppd. In oxygen-free solutions, this triplet decays to 3C-P-Ppd through a triplet-transfer relay involving an intermediate C-3P-Ppd species. In aerated solutions, quenching of C-P-3Ppd by the attached carotenoid competes with singlet oxygen sensitization and thus provides a degree of photoprotection. In a similar triad containing a zinc porphyrin moiety, triplet transfer is slow due to the higher energy of the C-3PZn-Ppd intermediate, and photoprotection via the relay is nonexistent. The triplet relay ceases to function at low temperatures in both the natural and biomimetic cases due to the endergonicity of the first step.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5684-5691
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jun 1 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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