The spectral forms of the two chlorophyll species in higher plant Photosystem II antenna proteins have been experimentally determined within their protein environment. Recombinant CP29 and LHC II antenna proteins missing individual chromophores were obtained by over-expression in bacteria without any changing of the primary protein sequence and in vitro reconstitution. Difference absorption spectroscopy with respect to the corresponding proteins binding the complete pigment complement yielded the spectral shape and extinction of single chlorophyll a and b. A functional relation of their absorption was given by Gaussian subband decomposition covering the entire Qx and Qy optical region together with the absolute value of the molar extinction coefficient. With respect to analogous determinations reported in the literature for organic solvents, this information is valuable for further understanding the in-protein chlorophyll excited states and excited state dynamics: in particular, for the calculation of Förster transfer rates by means of chlorophyllchlorophyll overlap integral employing the Stepanov relation for emission and single chromophore transition energies according to the results of mutational analysis of chlorophyll binding sites
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