Photosystem I (PSI)-light-harvesting complex I (LHCI) super-complex and its sub-complexes PSI core and LHCI, were purified from a unicellular red alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae and characterized. PSI-LHCI of C. merolae existed as a monomer with a molecular mass of 580 kDa. Mass spectrometry analysis identified 11 subunits (PsaA, B, C, D, E, F, I, J, K, L, O) in the core complex and three LHCI subunits, CMQ142C, CMN234C, and CMN235C in LHCI, indicating that at least three Lhcr subunits associate with the red algal PSI core. PsaG was not found in the red algae PSI-LHCI, and we suggest that the position corresponding to Lhca1 in higher plant PSI-LHCI is empty in the red algal PSI-LHCI. The PSI-LHCI complex was separated into two bands on native PAGE, suggesting that two different complexes may be present with slightly different protein compositions probably with respective to the numbers of Lhcr subunits. Based on the results obtained, a structural model was proposed for the red algal PSI-LHCI. Furthermore, pigment analysis revealed that the C. merolae PSI-LHCI contained a large amount of zeaxanthin, which is mainly associated with the LHCI complex whereas little zeaxanthin was found in the PSI core. This indicates a unique feature of the carotenoid composition of the Lhcr proteins and may suggest an important role of Zea in the light-harvesting and photoprotection of the red algal PSI-LHCI complex.
- Journal Article