Photosynthesis converts solar energy to chemical energy by means of two large pigment-protein complexes: photosystem I (PSI) and photosystem II (PSII). In higher plants, the PSI core is surrounded by a large light-harvesting complex I (LHCI) that captures sunlight and transfers the excitation energy to the core with extremely high efficiency. We report the structure of PSI-LHCI, a 600-kilodalton membrane protein supercomplex, from Pisum sativum (pea) at a resolution of 2.8 angstroms. The structure reveals the detailed arrangement of pigments and other cofactors - especially within LHCI - as well as numerous specific interactions between the PSI core and LHCI. These results provide a firm structural basis for our understanding on the energy transfer and photoprotection mechanisms within the PSI-LHCI supercomplex.
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