, Volume 76, Issue 1-3, pp 193-205

Phycobiliproteins and phycobilisomes: the early observations

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Abstract

The purpose of this minireview is to highlight the early observations that led to the discovery of the physico-chemical properties of the phycobiliproteins, their structure and function, and to their architectural organization in supramolecular complexes, the phycobilisomes. Generally attached on the stromal surface of the thylakoid membranes in both prokaryotic (cyanobacteria) and eukaryotic cells (cyanelles, red algae and cryptomonads), these complexes represent the most abundant soluble proteins and the major light-harvesting antennae for photosynthesis. This review mainly focuses on the years prior to the development of the molecular biology of cyanobacteria that flourished in the 1980s. We refer the reader to the comprehensive and excellent review by Sidler (1994) for more recent discoveries and more detailed literature on this topic. [-6pt]

‘It would be difficult to find another series of colouring matters of greater beauty or with such remarkable and instructive chemical and physical peculiarities.’ —H. Sorby, 1877.

This revised version was published online in October 2005 with corrections to the Cover Date.