Protein assembly and heat stability in developing thylakoid membranes during greening

Zoltán Kóta, László I. Horváth, Magdolna Droppa, Gábor Horváth, Tibor Farkas, Tibor Páli

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33 Citations (Scopus)


The development of the thylakoid membrane was studied during illumination of dark-grown barley seedlings by using biochemical methods, and Fourier transform infrared and spin label electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopic techniques. Correlated, gross changes in the secondary structure of membrane proteins, conformation, composition, and dynamics of lipid acyl chains, SDS/PAGE pattern, and thermally induced structural alterations show that greening is accompanied with the reorganization of membrane protein assemblies and the protein-lipid interface. Changes in overall membrane fluidity and noncovalent protein-lipid interactions are not monotonic, despite the monotonic accumulation of chlorophyll, LHCII [light-harvesting chlorophyll a/b-binding (polypeptides) associated with photosystem II] apoproteins, and 18:3 fatty acids that follow a similar time course with highest rates between 12-24 h of greening. The 18:3 fatty acid content increases 2.8-fold during greening. This appears to both compensate for lipid immobilization by membrane proteins and facilitate packing of larger protein assemblies. The increase in the amount of protein-solvating immobile lipids, which reaches a maximum at 12 h, is caused by 40% decrease in the membranous mean diameter of protein assemblies at constant protein/lipid mass ratio. Alterations in the SDS/PAGE pattern are most significant between 6-24 h. The size of membrane protein assemblies increases ≈4.5-fold over the 12-48-h period, likely caused by the 2-fold gain in LHCII apoproteins. The thermal stability of thylakoid membrane proteins increases monotonically, as detected by an increasing temperature of partial protein unfolding during greening. Our data suggest that a structural coupling between major protein and lipid components develops during greening. This protein-lipid interaction is required for the development and protection of thylakoid membrane protein assemblies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12149-12154
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - Sep 17 2002


  • Barley (Hordeum vulgare)
  • FTIR
  • Photosynthesis
  • Protein-lipid interaction
  • Spin label EPR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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