High-resolution crystal structures of bacterial photosynthetic reaction centers

Johann Deisenhofer, Hartmut Michel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This chapter discusses the high-resolution crystal structures of bacterial photosynthetic reaction centers. Photosynthetic Reaction Centers (RCs) are membrane-spanning complexes of polypeptide chains and cofactors that catalyze the first steps in the conversion of light energy to chemical energy during photosynthesis. Absorption of a photon in the RC, or energy transfer from light-harvesting complexes to the RC, causes rapid, efficient electron transfer from a primary donor along a chain of acceptors leading across the photosynthetic membrane. In all types of RCs, the primary donor has been shown, or is assumed to be, a closely associated pair of chlorophyll molecules. The chemical nature of the acceptor molecule at the end of the electron transfer chain within RCs depends on the type of RC: in photosynthetic purple bacteria; and in photosystem II of green plants and cyanobacteria, it is a quinone that is converted to a quinol by two successive electron transfer events and protonation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-120
Number of pages18
JournalNew Comprehensive Biochemistry
Issue numberC
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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