Light-harvesting complex (LHC) proteins in chloroplast thylakoid membranes not only transfer absorbed light energy to the two photosystems but also regulate the rate of energy transfer to avoid photodamage. Here we demonstrate that Lhcb9, a recently discovered LHC protein in the moss Physcomitrella patens, functions to connect LHC proteins with photosystem I (PSI), resulting in the formation of two different types of PSI supercomplexes in thylakoid membranes. We observed that the Lhcb9-containing PSI supercomplex is disassembled in response to excess light conditions. On the basis of our phylogenetic analysis, it appears that P. patens acquired Lhcb9 by horizontal gene transfer from the earlier green algal lineage, leading to the presence of both green alga-type and vascular plant-type PSI supercomplexes, which would have been crucial for conquering the dynamic environmental interface between aquatic and terrestrial conditions it faced during evolution.
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We are grateful to Dr Ichiro Terashima for fruitful discussion of the manuscript; Drs Mitsuyasu Hasebe and Yuji Hiwatashi for providing the P. patens WT strain and extensive technical advice on using the moss; Dr Hiroshi Abe for technical advice regarding cloning and gene construction; the Support Unit for Bio-Material Analysis, RIKEN BSI Research Resources Center, with special thanks to Kaori Otsuki, Masaya Usui and Aya Abe for MS; and Kaoru Kotoshiba and Hiroe Watanabe for technical support. This work was supported by JST PRESTO, JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 23687008, and grants from RIKEN Center for Advanced Photonics, Extreme Photonics Research Project.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Iwai, M., Yokono, M., Kono, M. et al. Light-harvesting complex Lhcb9 confers a green alga-type photosystem I supercomplex to the moss Physcomitrella patens. Nature Plants 1, 14008 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/nplants.2014.8
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