Role of MGDG and non-bilayer lipid phases in the structure and dynamics of chloroplast thylakoid membranes

G. Garab, Bettina Ughy, Reimund Goss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)


In this chapter we focus our attention on the enigmatic structural and functional roles of the major, non-bilayer lipid monogalactosyl-diacylglycerol (MGDG) in the thylakoid membrane. We give an overview on the state of the art on the role of MGDG and non-bilayer lipid phases in the xanthophyll cycles in different organisms. We also discuss data on the roles of MGDG and other lipid molecules found in crystal structures of different photosynthetic protein complexes and in lipid-protein assemblies, as well as in the self-assembly of the multilamellar membrane system. Comparison and critical evaluation of different membrane models – that take into account and capitalize on the special properties of non-bilayer lipids and/or non-bilayer lipid phases, and thus to smaller or larger extents deviate from the ‘standard’ Singer-Nicolson model – will conclude this review. With this chapter the authors hope to further stimulate the discussion about, what we think, is perhaps the most exciting question of membrane biophysics: the why and wherefore of non-bilayer lipids and lipid phases in, or in association with, bilayer biological membranes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-157
Number of pages31
JournalSub-Cellular Biochemistry
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2016


  • P-NMR
  • Bilayer phase
  • Inverted hexagonal phase
  • Light-harvesting complex
  • Membrane models
  • Merocyanine-540
  • Non-lamellar lipid phases
  • Photosystem
  • Xanthophyll cycle
  • Zeaxanthin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research
  • Molecular Biology

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