Plant Cell Biology

Plant Cell Biology



The phosphorylated N-terminus of LHC II

With the plug-in Chime, the structure can be examined interactively in a window to the left of this text. Alternatively, RasMol is an excellent helper application.

Using Chime, with the cursor over the graphic: drag to rotate; shift + drag to scale; hold the mouse button down to select display options.


On the basis of data from nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, Dalibor Stys has built this model of the three-dimensional structure of the N-terminal domain of the phosphorylated form of the chloroplast light-harvesting complex. The phosphate group (phosphorus is yellow; oxygen is red) makes contacts that cause the polypeptide to fold into a compact, helix-like structure. Such a structure is seen by Anders Nilsson, using infra-red and circular dicroism spectroscopy, in both the N-terminal domain and the whole protein - provided the phosphate group is present. The domain becomes disordered when the phosphate group is removed. The whole protein binds chlorophyll, which absorbs and converts light energy. We aim to resolve the change in protein structure that is the foundation of regulation of light-harvesting in photosynthesis, the source of energy for life on earth.

The light-harvesting complex itself.

A Quicktime animation (1.2 MB) of its phosphorylated N-terminus.

Fugue in C major, BWV 953.

Sequence Hansjakob Heldstab - by permission.


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