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Eur J Biochem. 1997 Jan 15;243(1-2):422-9.

Isolation and biochemical characterisation of monomeric and dimeric photosystem II complexes from spinach and their relevance to the organisation of photosystem II in vivo.

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Department of Biochemistry, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London, UK.


Membranes enriched in photosystem II were isolated from spinach and further solubilised using n-octyl beta-D-glucopyranoside (OctGlc) and n-dodecyl beta-D-maltoside (DodGlc2). The OctGlc preparation had high rates of oxygen evolution and when subjected to size-exclusion HPLC and sucrose density gradient centrifugation, in the presence of DodGlc2, separated into dimeric (430 kDa), monomeric (236 kDa) photosystem II cores and a fraction containing photosystem II light-harvesting complex (Lhcb) proteins. The dimeric core fraction was more stable, contained higher levels of chlorophyll, beta-carotene and plastoquinone per photosystem II reaction centre and had a higher oxygen-evolving activity than the monomeric cores. Their subunit composition was similar (CP43, CP47, D1, D2, cytochrome b 559 and several lower-molecular-mass components) except that the level of 33-kDa extrinsic protein was lower in the monomeric fraction. Direct solubilisation of photosystem-II-enriched membranes with DodGlc2, followed by sucrose density gradient centrifugation, yielded a super complex (700 kDa) containing the dimeric form of the photosystem II core and Lhcb proteins: Lhcb1, Lhcb2, Lhcb4 (CP29), and Lhcb5 (CP26). Like the dimeric and monomeric photosystem II core complexes, the photosystem II-LHCII complex had lost the 23-kDa and 17-kDa extrinsic proteins, but maintained the 33-kDa protein and the ability to evolve oxygen. It is suggested, with a proposed model, that the isolated photosystem II-LHCII super complex represents an in vivo organisation that can sometimes form a lattice in granal membranes of the type detected by freeze-etch electron microscopy [Seibert, M., DeWit, M. & Staehelin, L. A. (1987) J. Cell Biol. 105, 2257-2265].

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