Photosystem I (PSI) plays a major role in the light reactions of photosynthesis. In higher plants, PSI is composed of a core complex and four outer antennas that are assembled as two dimers, Lhca1/4 and Lhca2/3. Time-resolved fluorescence measurements on the isolated dimers show very similar kinetics. The intermonomer transfer processes are resolved using target analysis. They occur at rates similar to those observed in transfer to the PSI core, suggesting competition between the two transfer pathways. It appears that each dimer is adopting various conformations that correspond to different lifetimes and emission spectra. A special feature of the Lhca complexes is the presence of an absorption band at low energy, originating from an excitonic state of a chlorophyll dimer, mixed with a charge-transfer state. These low-energy bands have high oscillator strengths and they are superradiant in both Lhca1/4 and Lhca2/3. This challenges the view that the low-energy charge-transfer state always functions as a quencher in plant Lhc's and it also challenges previous interpretations of PSI kinetics. The very similar properties of the low-energy states of both dimers indicate that the organization of the involved chlorophylls should also be similar, in disagreement with the available structural data
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