Rhodopseudomonas palustris belongs to the group of purple bacteria that have the ability to produce LH2 complexes with unusual absorption spectra when they are grown at low-light intensity. This ability is often related to the presence of multiple genes encoding the antenna apoproteins. Here we report, for the first time to our knowledge, direct evidence that individual low-light LH2 complexes have a heterogeneous [alpha][beta]-apoprotein composition that modulates the site energies of Bchl a molecules, producing absorption bands at 800, 820, and 850 nm. The arrangement of the Bchl a molecules in the "tightly coupled ring" can be modeled by nine [alpha][beta]-Bchls dimers, such that the Bchls bound to six [alpha][beta]-pairs have B820-like site energies and the remaining Bchl a molecules have B850-like site energies. Furthermore, the experimental data can only be satisfactorily modeled when these six [alpha][beta]-pairs with B820 Bchl a molecules are distributed such that the symmetry of the assembly is reduced to C3. It is also clear from the measured single-molecule spectra that the energies of the electronically excited states in the mixed B820/850 ring are mainly influenced by diagonal disorde
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