Concentration-based self-assembly of phycocyanin

Ido Eisenberg, Dvir Harris, Yael Levi-Kalisman, Shira Yochelis, Asaf Shemesh, Gili Ben-Nissan, Michal Sharon, Uri Raviv, Noam Adir, Nir Keren, Yossi Paltiel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Cyanobacteria light-harvesting complexes can change their structure to cope with fluctuating environmental conditions. Studying in vivo structural changes is difficult owing to complexities imposed by the cellular environment. Mimicking this system in vitro is challenging, as well. The in vivo system is highly concentrated, and handling similar in vitro concentrated samples optically is difficult because of high absorption. In this research, we mapped the cyanobacteria antennas self-assembly pathways using highly concentrated solutions of phycocyanin (PC) that mimic the in vivo condition. PC was isolated from the thermophilic cyanobacterium Thermosynechococcus vulcanus and measured by several methods. PC has three oligomeric states: hexamer, trimer, and monomer. We showed that the oligomeric state was changed upon increase of PC solution concentration. This oligomerization mechanism may enable photosynthetic organisms to adapt their light-harvesting system to a wide range of environmental conditions.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)39-49
Number of pages11
JournalPhotosynthesis Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


  • Native mass spectrometry
  • Oligomerization
  • Phycocyanin
  • SAXS
  • TEM


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