We are interested in the mechanism of insertion of proteins into the chloroplast thylakoid membrane and the role that accessory pigments may play in this process. For this reason we have begun a molecular analysis of mutant plants deficient in pigments that associate with thylakoid membrane proteins. We have characterized plants that are homozygous for the previously isolated, recessive mutation chlorina-1 (ch-1) of Arabidopsis thaliana. Despite the lack of chlorophyll b and light-harvesting proteins of photosystem II (LHCPII) near normal levels of LHCPII mRNA are found in the mutant, in contrast to LHCPII mRNA levels in carotenoid-deficient mutants. The LHCPII mRNA of chlorina-1 plants can be translated in vitro so it is likely that LHCPII is not stable in ch-1 plants. Moreover, the thylakoid membranes of ch-1 plants remain appressed even though LHCPII levels are drastically reduced.