Supramolecular organization of the main photosynthetic antenna complex LHCII: a monomolecular layer study

Langmuir. 2009 Aug 18;25(16):9384-91. doi: 10.1021/la900630a.


The light-harvesting pigment-protein complex LHCII is a main antenna complex of the photosynthetic apparatus of plants, responsible for collecting light energy and also for photoprotection against overexcitation-induced damage. Realization of both functions depends on molecular organization of the complex. Monolayer technique has been applied to address the problem of supramolecular organization of LHCII. Analysis of the isotherms of compression of monomolecular films formed at the argon-water interface shows that LHCII appears in two phases: one characterized by the specific molecular area characteristic of trimeric and one of monomeric organization of LHCII. Monolayers of LHCII were deposited by means of the Langmuir-Blodgett technique to solid supports and examined by means of AFM, FTIR, fluorescence spectroscopy, and fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM). FTIR analysis shows that organization of the trimers of LHCII within a monolayer is associated with formation of intermolecular hydrogen bonds between neighboring polypeptides. The linear-dichroism FTIR analysis reveals that polypeptide fragments involved in intermolecular interactions are oriented at an angle of 67 degrees with respect to the normal axis to the plane of the layer. Fluorescence and fluorescence lifetime analysis reveal that the organization of LHCII within monolayers is associated with formation of the low-lying excitonic energy levels that can be potentially responsible for excess excitation quenching. FLIM and AFM reveal heterogeneous organization of LHCII monolayers, in particular, formation of ring-like structures. The potential of LHCII to form molecular structures characterized by pigment excitonic interactions is discussed in terms of regulation of the photosynthetic accessory function and photoprotection against overexcitation-induced damage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amides / chemistry
  • Light-Harvesting Protein Complexes / chemistry*
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force
  • Photosynthetic Reaction Center Complex Proteins / chemistry
  • Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared
  • Surface Properties


  • Amides
  • Light-Harvesting Protein Complexes
  • Photosynthetic Reaction Center Complex Proteins