Structural characterization of photosystem II complex from red alga Porphyridium cruentum retaining extrinsic subunits of the oxygen-evolving complex

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The structure of photosystem II (PSII) complex isolated from thylakoid membranes of the red alga Porphyridium cruentum was investigated using electron microscopy followed by single particle image analysis. The dimeric complexes observed contain all major PSII subunits (CP47, CP43, D1 and D2 proteins) as well as the extrinsic proteins (33 kDa, 12 kDa and the cytochrome c550) of the oxygen-evolving complex (OEC) of PSII, encoded by the psbO, psbU and psbV genes, respectively. The single particle analysis of the top-view projections revealed the PSII complex to have maximal dimensions of 22 × 15 nm. The analysis of the side-view projections shows a maximal thickness of the PSII complex of about 9 nm including the densities on the lumenal surface that has been attributed to the proteins of the OEC complex. These results clearly demonstrate that the red algal PSII complex is structurally very similar to that of cyanobacteria and to the PSII core complex of higher plants. In addition, the arrangement of the OEC proteins on the lumenal surface of the PSII complex is consistent to that obtained by X-ray crystallography of cyanobacterial PSII.

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