The role of light-harvesting complex I in excitation energy transfer from LHCII to photosystem I in Arabidopsis

Christo Schiphorst, Luuk Achterberg, Rodrigo Gómez, Rob Koehorst, Roberto Bassi, Herbert van Amerongen, Luca Dall’Osto, Emilie Wientjes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Photosynthesis powers nearly all life on Earth. Light absorbed by photosystems drives the conversion of water and carbon dioxide into sugars. In plants, photosystem I (PSI) and photosystem II (PSII) work in series to drive the electron transport from water to NADP+. As both photosystems largely work in series, a balanced excitation pressure is required for optimal photosynthetic performance. Both photosystems are composed of a core and light-harvesting complexes (LHCI) for PSI and LHCII for PSII. When the light conditions favor the excitation of one photosystem over the other, a mobile pool of trimeric LHCII moves between both photosystems thus tuning their antenna cross-section in a process called state transitions. When PSII is overexcited multiple LHCIIs can associate with PSI. A trimeric LHCII binds to PSI at the PsaH/L/O site to form a well-characterized PSI–LHCI–LHCII supercomplex. The binding site(s) of the “additional” LHCII is still unclear, although a mediating role for LHCI has been proposed. In this work, we measured the PSI antenna size and trapping kinetics of photosynthetic membranes from Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) plants. Membranes from wild-type (WT) plants were compared to those of the DLhca mutant that completely lacks the LHCI antenna. The results showed that “additional” LHCII complexes can transfer energy directly to the PSI core in the absence of LHCI. However, the transfer is about two times faster and therefore more efficient, when LHCI is present. This suggests LHCI mediates excitation energy transfer from loosely bound LHCII to PSI in WT plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2241-2252
JournalPlant Physiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


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