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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Light-harvesting antenna complexes in the moss Physcomitrella patens: implications for the evolutionary transition from green algae to land plants


Plants have successfully adapted to a vast range of terrestrial environments during their evolution. To elucidate the evolutionary transition of light-harvesting antenna proteins from green algae to land plants, the moss Physcomitrella patens is ideally placed basally among land plants. Compared to the genomes of green algae and land plants, the P. patens genome codes for more diverse and redundant light-harvesting antenna proteins. It also encodes Lhcb9, which has characteristics not found in other light-harvesting antenna proteins. The unique complement of light-harvesting antenna proteins in P. patens appears to facilitate protein interactions that include those lost in both green algae and land plants with regard to stromal electron transport pathways and photoprotection mechanisms. This review will highlight unique characteristics of the P. patens light-harvesting antenna system and the resulting implications about the evolutionary transition during plant terrestrialization.

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