Dr. Vangelis Daskalakis, Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Science & Technology, Cyprus University of Technology, Cyprus
Title of the talk:
Triggering Photoprotection in Photosystem II Light Harvesting Complexes by Molecular Simulations
Scientists are constantly targeting the life-sustaining oxygen cycle, that is driven by the processes of photosynthesis and cellular respiration. Especially for the photosynthetic apparatus, Photosystem II (PSII), this can potentially lead to applications in more efficient solar energy harvesting. However, the drawback for an efficient photosynthetic process lies on the fact that under excess (or fluctuating) light conditions, organisms activate their photoprotection and convert a significant amount of photonic energy into heat, to avoid damage by the production of reactive oxygen species. The mechanism is called Non-Photochemical (Chlorophyll Fluorescence) Quenching, or NPQ, protects the apparatus against overloading, and it is triggered by an excess ΔpH across the thylakoid membranes. Recent studies have identified possible conformational changes in Light Harvesting Complexes (LHCs), like the minor CP29, and the major LHCII antenna from PSII, that can be associated with a switch from an efficient energy transfer in light harvesting mode to the energy traps (quenching) in photoprotective mode. Furthermore, the interaction of LHCs with the PSII subunit S (PsbS) has been also implicated in a rearrangement of the thylakoid membrane that could ultimately lead to quenching via LHCII aggregates. In this talk, conformational changes within the LHCs, associated with the aforementioned processes, will be reviewed, as probed by Molecular Simulations.
All are welcome!
Futher information by: Prof. Dr. Ulrich Kleinekathöferr, Prof. of Theoretical Physics - Physics & Earth Sciences, Email: u.kleinekathoefer [at] jacobs-university.de