3-D modelling of chloroplast structure under (Mg2+) magnesium ion treatment. Relationship between thylakoid membrane arrangement and stacking

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2010 Oct;1797(10):1736-48. doi: 10.1016/j.bbabio.2010.07.001. Epub 2010 Jul 16.


We performed for the first time three-dimensional (3D) modelling of the entire chloroplast structure. Stacks of optical slices obtained by confocal laser scanning microscope (CLSM) provided a basis for construction of 3D images of individual chloroplasts. We selected pea (Pisum sativum) and bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) chloroplasts since we found that they differ in thylakoid organization. Pea chloroplasts contain large distinctly separated appressed domains while less distinguished appressed regions are present in bean chloroplasts. Different magnesium ion treatments were used to study thylakoid membrane stacking and arrangement. In pea chloroplasts, as demonstrated by 3D modelling, the increase of magnesium ion concentration changed the degree of membrane appression from wrinkled continuous surface to many distinguished stacked areas and significant increase of the inter-grana area. On the other hand 3D models of bean chloroplasts exhibited similar but less pronounced tendencies towards formation of appressed regions. Additionally, we studied arrangements of thylakoid membranes and chlorophyll-protein complexes by various spectroscopic methods, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) among others. Based on microscopic and spectroscopic data we suggested that the range of chloroplast structure alterations under magnesium ions treatment is a consequence of the arrangement of supercomplexes. Moreover, we showed that stacking processes always affect the structural changes of chloroplast as a whole.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chlorophyll / metabolism
  • Chloroplasts / drug effects*
  • Chloroplasts / metabolism
  • Chloroplasts / ultrastructure
  • Magnesium / pharmacology*
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Models, Structural*
  • Peas / metabolism
  • Phaseolus / metabolism
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence
  • Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared
  • Thylakoids / drug effects*
  • Thylakoids / metabolism
  • Thylakoids / ultrastructure


  • Chlorophyll
  • Magnesium