Mechanism of quinol oxidation by ferricenium produced by light excitation in reaction centers of photosynthetic bacteria

Francesco Milano, László Gerencsér, Angela Agostiano, László Nagy, Massimo Trotta, Péter Maróti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)


The kinetics and thermodynamics of cyclic electron transfer through the isolated reaction center protein of photosynthetic bacterium Rhodobacter sphaeroides were determined in detergent (Triton X-100) solution. The redox reactions between the reducing (ubiquinol-0 or ubiquinol-10) and oxidizing species (ferricenium, ferricytochrome, or ferricyanide) produced chemically or by light excitation of the protein were monitored by absorption changes of the reactants and by acidification of the solution accompanied with the disappearance of the quinol. The bimolecular rate constants of reactions of anionic ubiquinol-0 with different oxidizing agents showed large variation: 5 × 108 M-1 s-1 for ferricenium, 3.5 × 105 M-1 s-1 for ferricyanide, and 1.5 × 105 M-1 s-1 for ferricytochrome. Although the redox partners were created in pairs by the same protein promptly after light excitation, their bimolecular redox reaction was not observed even in the case of the fastest reacting partners of ferricenium and ubiquinol-0. Instead, they equilibrate with the corresponding (donor and acceptor) pools before the electron is transferred. The (logarithms of the) observed rate constants of quinol oxidation showed steep pH-dependence for water soluble ubiquinol-0 (slope +1) and mild pH-dependence for hydrophobic ubiquinol-10 (slope ≈ 0.25). Combined with studies of the ionic strength dependence of the rate, it was concluded that the electron-transfer pathways of ubiquinol-0 and ubiquinol-10 oxidation started from their anionic and neutral forms, respectively. The mild pH-dependence of the rate of ubiquinol-10 oxidation came from the electrostatic interactions between ferricenium and the pH-dependent surface charges of the reaction center. The results help to understand, monitor, and design (cyclic) electron flow in bioenergetic proteins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4261-4270
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - Apr 26 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Mechanism of quinol oxidation by ferricenium produced by light excitation in reaction centers of photosynthetic bacteria'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this