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Plant Physiol. 1987 Sep; 85(1): 194–198.
PMCID: PMC1054228

Dynamics of Photosystem II and Its Light Harvesting System in Response to Light Changes in the Halotolerant Alga Dunaliella salina1


A photosystem two (PSII) core complex consisting of five major polypeptides (47, 40, 32, 30, and 10 kilodaltons) and a light harvesting chlorophyll a/b complex (LHC-2) have been isolated from the halotolerant alga Dunaliella salina. The chlorophyll and polypeptide composition of both complexes were compared in illuminated and dark-adapted cultures. Dark adaptation is accompanied by a decrease in the chlorophyll a to chlorophyll b (Chl a/Chl b) ratio of intact thylakoids without any change in total chlorophyll. These changes occur with a half-time of 3 hours and are reversed upon reillumination. Analyses of PSII enriched membrane fragments suggest that the decrease in the Chl a/Chl b is due partly to an increase in the Chl b content of LHC-2 and partly to changes in the relative levels of the two complexes. Apparently during dark adaptation there is: (a) a net synthesis of chlorophyll b, (b) removal of PSII core complexes resulting in a 2-fold drop in the PSII cores to LHC-2 chlorophyll ratio. These changes should dramatically increase the light harvesting capacity of the remaining PSII reaction centers. Presumably this adjustment of antenna size and composition is a physiological mechanism necessary for responding to shade conditions. Also detected, using 32P, are light-induced phosphorylation of the LHC-2 (consistent with the ability to undergo State transitions) and of the 40 and 30 kilodalton subunits of the PSII core complex. These observations indicate that additional mechanisms may also exist to help optimize the interception of quanta during rapid changes in illumination conditions.

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