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J Biol Chem. 2004 Aug 27;279(35):36514-8. Epub 2004 Jun 24.

Mobility of the IsiA chlorophyll-binding protein in cyanobacterial thylakoid membranes.

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Department of Biology, University College London, Darwin Building, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, United Kingdom.


We are using fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) to probe the dynamics of thylakoid membranes in vivo in cells of the cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. PCC7942. We have shown previously that the light-harvesting phycobilisomes diffuse quite rapidly on the thylakoid membrane surface. However, the photosystem II core complexes appear completely immobile. This raises the possibility that all of the membrane integral protein complexes in the thylakoid membrane are locked into a rather rigid array. Alternatively, it is possible that photosystem II is specifically anchored in the membrane, with other membrane proteins able to diffuse around it. We have now resolved this question by studying the diffusion of a second integral membrane protein, the IsiA chlorophyll-binding protein. IsiA is induced under iron starvation and some other stress conditions. In iron-stressed cyanobacterial cells, a high proportion of chlorophyll fluorescence comes from IsiA. This makes it straightforward to examine the diffusion of IsiA by FRAP. We find that the complex is mobile with a mean diffusion coefficient of approximately 3 x 10(-11) cm(2) s(-1). Thus it is clear that some thylakoid membrane proteins are mobile and that there must be a specific anchor that prevents photosystem II diffusion. We discuss the implications for the structure and function of the cyanobacterial thylakoid membrane.

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