Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 82, Issue 3, pp 241–263 | Cite as

Structure, function and assembly of Photosystem II and its light-harvesting proteins

  • Jun MinagawaEmail author
  • Yuichiro Takahashi


Photosystem II (PSII) is a multisubunit chlorophyll–protein complex that drives electron transfer from water to plastoquinone using energy derived from light. In green plants, the native form of PSII is surrounded by the light-harvesting complex (LHCII complex) and thus it is called the PSII–LHCII supercomplex. Over the past several years, understanding of the structure, function, and assembly of PSII and LHCII complexes has increased considerably. The unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii has been an excellent model organism to study PSII and LHCII complexes, because this organism grows heterotrophically and photoautotrophically and it is amenable to biochemical, genetic, molecular biological and recombinant DNA methodology. Here, the genes encoding and regulating components of the C. reinhardtii PSII–LHCII supercomplex have been thoroughly catalogued: they include 15 chloroplast and 20 nuclear structural genes as well as 13 nuclear genes coding for regulatory factors. This review discusses these molecular genetic data and presents an overview of the structure, function and assembly of PSII and LHCII complexes.


antenna assembly Chlamydomonas reinhardtii LHCII light-harvesting complex Photosystem II 







the light-harvesting complex


proteins constitute major antenna complex for Photosystem II


non-photochemical quenching


primary electron donor in PSII


pheophytin a


pheophytin on D1 as an intermediate electron acceptor of PSII


Photosystem II




the primary electron acceptor of PSII


the secondary electron acceptor of PSII


reaction center for Photosystem II


signal recognition particle


transmembrane helix


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Low Temperature ScienceHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan
  2. 2.Department of Biology, Faculty of ScienceOkayama UniversityOkayamaJapan

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