Low-temperature resonance Raman (RR) spectra have been obtained at resonance with the Soret transition of chlorophyll a in photosystem I particles containing large amounts either of the triplet state of P700 or of its radical cation state. Subtracting these spectra from those of resting reaction centers yielded RR spectra of P70o in its neutral, ground state. These spectra arise from two distinct chlorophyll a molecules differing by the strengths of the bonding interactions assumed by their keto carbonyl groups, the stretching frequencies of which are found at 1655 and 1675 cm−1. The present results rule out previous hypotheses that P700 might have consisted of a single, chemically modified chlorophyll a molecule. Neither of the bonding interactions assumed by the keto carbonyls of the P70o chlorophylls most probably involves chlorophyll-chlorophyll bridging through water molecules, as surmised in the so-called special pair models, but likely consists of H bonds with distinct protein sites. The magnesium atoms of the two P700 chlorophylls are 5-coordinated. Hence, the structural model of P70o provided by the present data is qualitatively the same, in terms of bonding interactions, as that currently accepted for the bacterial primary donor.
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