German biochemist who, along with Hartmut Michel and Robert Huber,
received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1988 for their determination
of the structure of certain proteins that are essential to photosynthesis.
Together with Michel and Huber, Deisenhofer set out to study the structure
of a protein complex found in certain photosynthetic bacteria. This
protein, called a photosynthetic reaction centre, was known to play
a crucial role in initiating a simple type of photosynthesis. Between
1982 and 1985, the three scientists used X-ray crystallography to determine
the exact arrangement of the more than 10,000 atoms that make up the
protein complex. Their research increased the general understanding
of the mechanisms of photosynthesis and revealed similarities between
the photosynthetic processes of plants and bacteria.
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