Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 55, Issue 1, pp 109–114

Chlorosome development in Chloroflexus aurantiacus


  • Markus Foidl
    • Institut für Biologie II (Mikrobiologie)
  • Jochen R. Golecki
    • Institut für Biologie II (Mikrobiologie)
  • Jürgen Oelze
    • Institut für Biologie II (Mikrobiologie)

DOI: 10.1023/A:1005901318614

Cite this article as:
Foidl, M., Golecki, J.R. & Oelze, J. Photosynthesis Research (1998) 55: 109. doi:10.1023/A:1005901318614


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.

bacteriochlorophyllchlorosome polypeptideschlorosome structuregreen bacteriaphotosynthetic apparatus

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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998