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J Biol Chem. 2000 Sep 8;275(36):27940-6.

Three-dimensional structure of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and Synechococcus elongatus photosystem II complexes allows for comparison of their oxygen-evolving complex organization.

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  • 1Wolfson Laboratories, Biochemistry Department, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London SW7 2AY, United Kingdom.


Electron microscopy and single-particle analyses have been carried out on negatively stained photosystem II (PSII) complexes isolated from the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and the thermophilic cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus. The analyses have yielded three-dimensional structures at 30-A resolution. Biochemical analysis of the C. reinhardtii particle suggested it to be very similar to the light-harvesting complex II (LHCII).PSII supercomplex of spinach, a conclusion borne out by its three-dimensional structure. Not only was the C. reinhardtii LHCII.PSII supercomplex dimeric and of comparable size and shape to that of spinach, but the structural features for the extrinsic OEC subunits bound to the lumenal surface were also similar thus allowing identification of the PsbO, PsbP, and PsbQ OEC proteins. The particle isolated from S. elongatus was also dimeric and retained its OEC proteins, PsbO, PsbU, and PsbV (cytochrome c(550)), which were again visualized as protrusions on the lumenal surface of the complex. The overall size and shape of the cyanobacterial particle was similar to that of a PSII dimeric core complex isolated from spinach for which higher resolution structural data are known from electron crystallography. By building the higher resolution structural model into the projection maps it has been possible to relate the positioning of the OEC proteins of C. reinhardtii and S. elongatus with the underlying transmembrane helices of other major intrinsic subunits of the core complex, D1, D2, CP47, and CP43 proteins. It is concluded that the PsbO protein is located over the CP47 and D2 side of the reaction center core complex, whereas the PsbP/PsbQ and PsbV/PsbU are positioned over the lumenal surface of the N-terminal region of the D1 protein. However, the mass attributed to PsbV/PsbU seems to bridge across to the PsbO, whereas the PsbP/PsbQ proteins protrude out more from the lumenal surface. Nevertheless, within the resolution and quality of the data, the relative positions of the center of masses for OEC proteins of C. reinhardtii and S. elongatus are similar and consistent with those determined previously for the OEC proteins of spinach.

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