Biogenesis of a photosystem I light-harvesting complex: Evidence for a membrane intermediate

Zach Adam, Neil E. Hoffman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


CAB-7p is a chlorophyll a/b binding protein of photosystem I (PSI). It is found in light-harvesting complex I 680 (LHCI-680), one of the chlorophyll complexes produced by detergent solubilization of PSI. Two types of evidence are presented to indicate that assembly of CAB-7p into PSI proceeds through a membrane intermediate. First, when CAB-7p is briefly imported into chloroplasts or isolated thylakoids, we initially observe a fast-migrating membrane form of CAB-7p that is subsequently converted into PSI. The conversion of the fast-migrating form into PSI does not require stroma or ATP. Second, trypsin treatment of thylakoids containing radiolabeled CAB-7p indicates that there are at least two membrane forms of the mature 23-kD protein. The predominant form is completely resistant to proteolysis; a second form of the protein is cleaved by trypsin into 12- and 7-kD polypeptides. We interpret this to mean that the intermediate is a cleavable form that becomes protease resistant during assembly. This notion is supported by the observation that CAB-7p in LHCI-680 is largely cleaved by trypsin into 12- and 7-kD polypeptides, whereas CAB-7p in isolated PSI particles is trypsin resistant. In vitro, we generated a mutant form of CAB-7p, CAB-7/Bgl2p, that was able to integrate into thylakoid membranes but was unable to assemble into PSI. The membrane form of CAB-7/Bgl2p, like LHCI-680, was predominantly cleaved by trypsin into 12- and 7-kD fragments. We suggest that the mutant protein is arrested at an intermediate stage in the assembly pathway of PSI. Based on its mobility in nondenaturing gels and its susceptibility to protease cleavage, we suggest that the intermediate form is LHCI-680. We propose the following distinct stages in the biogenesis of LHCI: (a) apoprotein is integrated into the thylakoid, (b) chlorophyll is rapidly bound to apoprotein forming LHCI-680, and (c) LHCI-680 assembles into the native PSI complex.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)35-43
Number of pages9
JournalPlant Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1993


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