Light-harvesting complexes (LHCs) are major constituents of the antenna systems in higher plant photosystems. Four Lhca subunits are tightly bound to the photosystem I (PSI) core complex, forming its outer antenna moiety called LHCI. The Arabidopsis thaliana mutant ΔLhca lacks all Lhca1–4 subunits and compensates for its decreased antenna size by binding LHCII trimers, the main constituent of the photosystem II antenna system, to PSI. In this work we have investigated the effect of LHCI/LHCII substitution by comparing the light harvesting and excitation energy transfer efficiency properties of PSI complexes isolated from ΔLhca mutants and from the wild type, as well as the consequences for plant growth. We show that the excitation energy transfer efficiency was not compromised by the substitution of LHCI with LHCII but a significant reduction in the absorption cross-section was observed. The absence of LHCI subunits in PSI thus significantly limits light harvesting, even on LHCII binding, inducing, as a consequence, a strong reduction in growth.
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The work was financed by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (MIPAAF) project HYDROBIO and by the Marie Curie Actions Initial Training Networks ACCLIPHOT (PITN-GA-2012-316427) and S2B (675006–SE2B) to R.B. G.C. acknowledges support from the European Research Council Advanced Grant STRATUS (ERC-2011-AdG No. 291198).
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Bressan, M., Dall'Osto, L., Bargigia, I. et al. LHCII can substitute for LHCI as an antenna for photosystem I but with reduced light-harvesting capacity. Nature Plants 2, 16131 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/nplants.2016.131
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