Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 55, Issue 1, pp 109-114

First online:

Chlorosome development in Chloroflexus aurantiacus

  • Markus FoidlAffiliated withInstitut für Biologie II (Mikrobiologie)
  • , Jochen R. GoleckiAffiliated withInstitut für Biologie II (Mikrobiologie)
  • , Jürgen OelzeAffiliated withInstitut für Biologie II (Mikrobiologie)

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The development of chlorosomes was studied in the green phototrophic bacterium Chloroflexus aurantiacus during the adaptation from chemotrophic (aerobiosis in the dark) to phototrophic (anaerobiosis in the light) conditions. Electron micrographs confirmed that chlorosomes were essentially absent from chemotrophic cells. After 5 h of adaptation, however, about 70% of the cells exhibited the presence of chlorosomes and after 19 h essentially all the cells contained chlorosomes. During the first 5 h of adaptation, the number of chlorosomes per µm2 of membrane area increased from zero to 37 ± 7, and during the following 40 h to 55 ± 17. The latter phase was characterized by an increase in the chlorosome volume from 36 400 to 91 800 nm3. Chemotrophic cells contained all of the three polypeptides assumed to be localized in the chlorosome envelope. As estimated on the basis of bacteriochlorophyll (BChl) c of chlorosomes, the relative contents of all of the three polypeptides decreased during the adaptation to phototrophic conditions by a factor of about eight. It is proposed that largely empty chlorosome bags are already present in chemotrophic cells and that these as well as subsequently formed chlorosomes are filled up with BChl c. The results are discussed in light of the role of the 5.7 kDa polypeptide in the arrangement of BChl c aggregates within the chlorosome.

bacteriochlorophyll chlorosome polypeptides chlorosome structure green bacteria photosynthetic apparatus