Fluorescence emission properties of intact and alkaline-treated chlorosomes containing bacterio-chlorophyll(BChl)-c, d, and e, which were isolated from four species of green sulfur photosynthetic bacteria, were successfully studied at the single-unit level using a total internal reflection fluorescence microscope. Single intact chlorosomes containing BChl-c from Chlorobium (Chl.) tepidum exhibited heterogeneous emission bands of BChl-c self-aggregates. In contrast, fluorescence spectra of chlorosomal BChl self-aggregates in single intact chlorosomes from the other three Chlorobium species were less heterogeneous than those from Chl. tepidum. Removal of energy-accepting BChl-a/protein complexes called baseplates from the intact chlorosomes by treatments with alkaline media hardly changed spectral shapes of BChl aggregates and their peak distributions at the single-chlorosome level. The similarity of spectral properties at the single-unit level between intact and alkaline-treated chlorosomes of four Chlorobium species clearly indicated that the removal of base-plates from intact chlorosomes by the alkaline-treatment did not affect BChl self-aggregates inside single chlorosomes.
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