Send to

Choose Destination
Biochim Biophys Acta. 2014 Apr;1837(4):495-502. doi: 10.1016/j.bbabio.2013.11.003. Epub 2013 Nov 15.

Diffusion of molecules and macromolecules in thylakoid membranes.

Author information

Institute of Biological Chemistry, Washington State University, Pullman, WA, USA. Electronic address:


The survival and fitness of photosynthetic organisms is critically dependent on the flexible response of the photosynthetic machinery, harbored in thylakoid membranes, to environmental changes. A central element of this flexibility is the lateral diffusion of membrane components along the membrane plane. As demonstrated, almost all functions of photosynthetic energy conversion are dependent on lateral diffusion. The mobility of both small molecules (plastoquinone, xanthophylls) as well as large protein supercomplexes is very sensitive to changes in structural boundary conditions. Knowledge about the design principles that govern the mobility of photosynthetic membrane components is essential to understand the dynamic response of the photosynthetic machinery. This review summarizes our knowledge about the factors that control diffusion in thylakoid membranes and bridges structural membrane alterations to changes in mobility and function. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Dynamic and ultrastructure of bioenergetic membranes and their components.


Diffusion coefficient; Macromolecular crowding; Percolation theory; Photosynthesis; Thylakoid membrane

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center