Ultrastructure of Acaryochloris marina, an oxyphotobacterium containing mainly chlorophyll d

Arch Microbiol. 2000 Sep;174(3):181-8. doi: 10.1007/s002030000194.


We present a detailed investigation of the ultrastructure of the chlorophyll a/d-containing unicellular oxyphotobacterium Acaryochloris marina, combining light and transmission electron microscopy and showing freeze fractures of this organism for the first time. The cells were 1.8-2.1 microm x 1.5-1.7 microm in size. The cell envelope consisted of a peptidoglycan layer of approximately 10 nm thickness combined with an outer membrane. Cell division was intermediate between the constrictive and the septum type. The nucleoplasm, which contained several carboxysomes, was surrounded by 7-11 concentrically arranged thylakoids, which were predominantly stacked, with the exception of distinct areas where phycobiliproteins were located. The thylakoids were perforated by channel-like structures connecting the central and peripheral portions of the cytoplasm and not yet observed in other organisms. In freeze fractures, the protoplasmic fracture faces of thylakoid membranes were densely covered with particles of inhomogenous size. The particle size histogram peaked at 10-11, 13 and 18 nm. The 18-nm particles are assumed to represent photosystem I trimers. The particles on exoplasmic fracture faces, proposed to represent photosystem II complexes, were significantly larger than the corresponding particles of cyanobacteria and clustered to form large aggregates. This kind of arrangement is unique among photosynthetic organisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chlorophyll / analysis*
  • Cyanobacteria / chemistry
  • Cyanobacteria / growth & development
  • Cyanobacteria / ultrastructure*
  • Freeze Fracturing / methods
  • Microscopy, Electron / methods
  • Photosynthetic Reaction Center Complex Proteins / ultrastructure


  • Photosynthetic Reaction Center Complex Proteins
  • Chlorophyll
  • chlorophyll d