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J Biol Chem. 2006 Apr 14;281(15):10305-15. Epub 2006 Feb 9.

A chlorophyll a/b-binding protein homolog that is induced by iron deficiency is associated with enlarged photosystem I units in the eucaryotic alga Dunaliella salina.

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Department of Biological Chemistry and Electron Microscopy Unit, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel.


Adaptation of the halotolerant alga Dunaliella salina to iron deprivation involves extensive changes of chloroplast morphology, photosynthetic activities, and induction of a major 45-kDa chloroplast protein termed Tidi. Partial amino acid sequencing of proteolytic peptides suggested that Tidi resembles chlorophyll a/b-binding proteins which compose light-harvesting antenna complexes (LHC) (Varsano, T., Kaftan, D., and Pick, U. (2003) J. Plant Nutr. 26, 2197-2210). Here we show that Tidi shares the highest amino acid sequence similarity with light-harvesting I chlorophyll a/b-binding proteins from higher plants but has an extended proline-rich N-terminal domain. The accumulation of Tidi is reversed by iron supplementation, and its level is inversely correlated with photosystem I (PS-I) reaction center proteins. In native gel electrophoresis, Tidi co-migrates with enlarged PS-I-LHC-I super-complexes. Single particle electron microscopy analysis revealed that PS-I units from iron-deficient cells are larger (31 and 37 nm in diameter) than PS-I units from control cells (22 nm). The 77 K chlorophyll fluorescence emission spectra of isolated complexes suggest that the Tidi-LHC-I antenna are functionally coupled to the reaction centers of PS-I. These findings indicate that Tidi acts as an accessory antenna of PS-I. The enlargement of PS-I antenna in algae and in cyanobacteria under iron deprivation suggests a common limitation that requires rebalancing of the energy distribution between the two photosystems.

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