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Visualizing structural dynamics of thylakoid membranes

  • Author(s): Iwai, M
  • Yokono, M
  • Nakano, A
  • et al.

Published Web Location

https://doi.org/10.1038/srep03768
Abstract

To optimize photosynthesis, light-harvesting antenna proteins regulate light energy dissipation and redistribution in chloroplast thylakoid membranes, which involve dynamic protein reorganization of photosystems I and II. However, direct evidence for such protein reorganization has not been visualized in live cells. Here we demonstrate structural dynamics of thylakoid membranes by live cell imaging in combination with deconvolution. We observed chlorophyll fluorescence in the antibiotics-induced macrochloroplast in the moss Physcomitrella patens. The three-dimensional reconstruction uncovered the fine thylakoid membrane structure in live cells. The time-lapse imaging shows that the entire thylakoid membrane network is structurally stable, but the individual thylakoid membrane structure is flexible in vivo. Our observation indicates that grana serve as a framework to maintain structural integrity of the entire thylakoid membrane network. Both the structural stability and flexibility of thylakoid membranes would be essential for dynamic protein reorganization under fluctuating light environments.

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