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J Biol Chem. 2009 Mar 20;284(12):7777-82. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M809360200. Epub 2009 Jan 13.

CP29, a monomeric light-harvesting complex II protein, is essential for state transitions in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii.

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  • 1Institute of Low Temperature Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-0819, Japan.


In oxygen-evolving photosynthesis, the two photosystems, photosystem I (PSI) and photosystem II (PSII), function in parallel, and their excitation levels must be balanced to maintain an optimal photosynthetic rate under various light conditions. State transitions balance excitation energy between the two photosystems by redistributing light-harvesting complex II (LHCII) proteins. Here we describe two RNA interference (RNAi) mutants of the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii with one of the minor monomeric LHCII proteins, CP29 or CP26, knocked down. These two proteins have been identified in PSI-LHCI supercomplexes that harbor mobile LHCII proteins from PSII under a state where PSII is preferentially excited (State 2). We show that both the CP29 and CP26 RNAi mutants undergo reductions in the PSII antenna size during a transition from State 1 (a state where PSI is preferentially excited) to State 2, as reflected by nonphotochemical quenching of fluorescence, low temperature fluorescence spectra, and functional absorption cross-section. However, the undocked LHCIIs from PSII do not re-associate with PSI in the CP29-RNAi (b4i) mutant because the antenna size of PSI was not complementary increased. The mobile LHCIIs in the CP26-RNAi (b5i) mutant, however, re-associate with PSI, whose PSI-LHCI/II supercomplex is visualized on a sucrose density gradient. This study clarifies that CP29, not CP26, is an essential component in state transitions and demonstrates that CP29 is crucial when mobile LHCIIs re-associate with PSI under State 2 conditions.

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