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J Biol Chem. 1997 Jul 18;272(29):18350-7.

Phosphorylation controls the three-dimensional structure of plant light harvesting complex II.

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  • 1Plant Cell Biology, Box 7007, Lund University, S-220 07 Lund, Sweden.


The most abundant chlorophyll-binding complex in plants is the intrinsic membrane protein light-harvesting complex II (LHC II). LHC II acts as a light-harvesting antenna and has an important role in the distribution of absorbed energy between the two photosystems of photosynthesis. We used spectroscopic techniques to study a synthetic peptide with identical sequence to the LHC IIb N terminus found in pea, with and without the phosphorylated Thr at the 5th amino acid residue, and to study both forms of the native full-length protein. Our results show that the N terminus of LHC II changes structure upon phosphorylation and that the structural change resembles that of rabbit glycogen phosphorylase, one of the few phosphoproteins where both phosphorylated and non-phosphorylated structures have been solved. Our results indicate that phosphorylation of membrane proteins may regulate their function through structural protein-protein interactions in surface-exposed domains.

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