Photosynthetic membrane topography: Quantitative in situ localization of photosystems I and II

Laszlo Mustardy, Francis X. Cunningham, Elisabeth Gantt

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23 Citations (Scopus)


An immunolabeling approach was developed for quantitative in situ labeling of photosystems I and II (PSI and PSII). Photosynthetic membranes from the phycobilisome-containing red alga Porphyridium cruentum were isolated from cells in which different photosystem compositions were predetermined by growing cells in green light (GL) or red light (RL). Based on phycobilisome densities per membrane area of 390 per μm2 (GL) and 450 per μm2 (RL) and the PSI reaction center (P700) and PSII reaction center (QA) content, the photosystem densities per μm2 of membrane were calculated to be 2520 PSI in GL and 1580 in RL and 630 PSII in GL and 1890 in RL. PSI was detected in the membranes with 10-nm Au particles conjugated to affinity-purified anti-PSI, and PSII was detected with 15-nm Au particles conjugated to anti-PSII. Distribution of Au particles appeared relatively uniform, and the degree of labeling was consistent with the calculated photosystem densities. However, the absolute numbers of Au-labeled sites were lower than would be obtained if all reaction center monomers were labeled. Specific labeling of PSI was 25% in GL and RL membranes, and PSII labeling was 33% in GL but only 17% in RL membranes. An IgG-Au particle is larger than a monomer of either photosystem and could shield several closely packed photosystems. We suggest that clustering of photosystems exists and that the cluster size of PSI is the same in GL and RL cells, but the PSII cluster size is 2 times greater in RL than in GL cells. Such variations may reflect changes in functional domains whereby increased clustering can maximize the cooperativity between the photosystems, resulting in enhancement of the quantum yield.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10021-10025
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 1992


  • Immunolabeling
  • Phycobilisome
  • Porphyridium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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