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J Biol Chem. 2003 May 2;278(18):16135-41. Epub 2003 Feb 14.

Three-dimensional reconstruction of a light-harvesting complex I-photosystem I (LHCI-PSI) supercomplex from the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Insights into light harvesting for PSI.

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  • 1Wolfson Laboratories, Department of Biological Sciences, South Kensington Campus, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, United Kingdom.


A supercomplex containing the photosystem I (PSI) and chlorophyll a/b light-harvesting complex I (LHCI) has been isolated using a His-tagged mutant of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. This LHCI-PSI supercomplex contained approximately 215 chlorophyll molecules of which 175 were estimated to be chlorophyll a and 40 to be chlorophyll b, based on P700 oxidation and chlorophyll a/b ratio measurements. Its room temperature long wavelength absorption peak was at 680 nm, and it emitted chlorophyll fluorescence maximally at 715 nm (77 K). The LHCI was composed of four or more different types of Lhca polypeptides including Lhca3. No LHCII proteins or other phosphoproteins were detected in the LHCI-PSI supercomplexes suggesting that the cells from which they were isolated were in State 1. Electron microscopy of negatively stained samples followed by image analysis revealed the LHCI-PSI supercomplex to have maximal dimensions of 220 A by 180 A and to be approximately 105 A thick. An averaged top view was used to model in x-ray and electron crystallographic data for PSI and Lhca proteins respectively. We conclude that the supercomplex consists of a PSI reaction center monomer with 11 Lhca proteins arranged along the side where the PSI proteins, PsaK, PsaJ, PsaF, and PsaG are located. The estimated molecular mass for the complex is 700 kDa including the bound chlorophyll molecules. The assignment of 11 Lhca proteins is consistent with a total chlorophyll level of 215 assuming that the PSI reaction center core binds approximately 100 chlorophylls and that each Lhca subunit binds 10 chlorophylls. There was no evidence for oligomerization of Chlamydomonas PSI in contrast to the trimerization of PSI in cyanobacteria.

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