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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Jan 10;103(2):477-82. Epub 2006 Jan 3.

Identification of the mobile light-harvesting complex II polypeptides for state transitions in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Okayama University, 3-1-1 Tsushima-naka, Okayama 700-8530, Japan.


State transition in photosynthesis is a short-term balancing mechanism of energy distribution between photosystem I (PSI) and photosystem II (PSII). When PSII is preferentially excited (state 2), a pool of mobile light-harvesting complex II (LHCII) antenna proteins is thought to migrate from PSII to PSI, but biochemical evidence for a physical association between LHCII proteins and PSI in state 2 is weak. Here, using the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, which has a high capacity for state transitions, we report the isolation of PSI-light-harvesting complex I (LHCI) super-complexes from cells locked into state 1 and state 2. We solubilized the thylakoid membranes with a mild detergent, separated the proteins by sucrose density gradient centrifugation, and subjected gradient fractions to gel-filtration chromatography. Three LHCII polypeptides were associated with a PSI-LHCI supercomplex only in state 2; we identified them as two minor monomeric LHCII proteins (CP26 and CP29) and one previously unreported major LHCII protein type II, or LhcbM5. These three LHCII proteins, in addition to the major trimeric LHCII proteins, were phosphorylated upon transition to state 2. The corresponding phylogenetic tree indicates that among the LHCII proteins associated with PSII, these three LHCII proteins are the most similar to the LHC proteins for PSI (LHCI). Our results are important because CP26, CP29, and LhcbM5, which have been viewed as belonging solely to the PSII complex, are now postulated to shuttle between PSI and PSII during state transitions, thereby acting as docking sites for the trimeric LHCII proteins in both PSI and PSII.

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