Conservation of core complex subunits shaped the structure and function of photosystem I in the secondary endosymbiont alga Nannochloropsis gaditana

Alboresi, A., Le Quiniou, C., Yadav, S. K. N., Scholz, M., Meneghesso, A., Gerotto, C., Simionato, D., Hippler, M., Boekema, E. J., Croce, R. & Morosinotto, T., Jan-2017, In : New Phytologist. 213, p. 714-726 13 p., nph.14156.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  • Alessandro Alboresi
  • Clotilde Le Quiniou
  • Sathish K N Yadav
  • Martin Scholz
  • Andrea Meneghesso
  • Caterina Gerotto
  • Diana Simionato
  • Michael Hippler
  • Egbert J. Boekema
  • Roberta Croce
  • Tomas Morosinotto

Photosystem I (PSI) is a pigment protein complex catalyzing the light-driven electron transport from plastocyanin to ferredoxin in oxygenic photosynthetic organisms. Several PSI subunits are highly conserved in cyanobacteria, algae and plants, whereas others are distributed differentially in the various organisms. Here we characterized the structural and functional properties of PSI purified from the heterokont alga Nannochloropsis gaditana, showing that it is organized as a supercomplex including a core complex and an outer antenna, as in plants and other eukaryotic algae. Differently from all known organisms, the N. gaditana PSI supercomplex contains five peripheral antenna proteins, identified by proteome analysis as type-R light-harvesting complexes (LHCr4-8). Two antenna subunits are bound in a conserved position, as in PSI in plants, whereas three additional antennae are associated with the core on the other side. This peculiar antenna association correlates with the presence of PsaF/J and the absence of PsaH, G and K in the N. gaditana genome and proteome. Excitation energy transfer in the supercomplex is highly efficient, leading to a very high trapping efficiency as observed in all other PSI eukaryotes, showing that although the supramolecular organization of PSI changed during evolution, fundamental functional properties such as trapping efficiency were maintained.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbernph.14156
Pages (from-to)714-726
Number of pages13
JournalNew Phytologist
Early online date13-Sep-2016
Publication statusPublished - Jan-2017


  • electron microscopy, Heterokonta, Light-harvesting complex, Nannochloropsis, photosynthesis, photosynthetic apparatus, photosystem

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