Photosynthesis. Structural basis for energy transfer pathways in the plant PSI-LHCI supercomplex

Science. 2015 May 29;348(6238):989-95. doi: 10.1126/science.aab0214.


Photosynthesis converts solar energy to chemical energy by means of two large pigment-protein complexes: photosystem I (PSI) and photosystem II (PSII). In higher plants, the PSI core is surrounded by a large light-harvesting complex I (LHCI) that captures sunlight and transfers the excitation energy to the core with extremely high efficiency. We report the structure of PSI-LHCI, a 600-kilodalton membrane protein supercomplex, from Pisum sativum (pea) at a resolution of 2.8 angstroms. The structure reveals the detailed arrangement of pigments and other cofactors—especially within LHCI—as well as numerous specific interactions between the PSI core and LHCI. These results provide a firm structural basis for our understanding on the energy transfer and photoprotection mechanisms within the PSI-LHCI supercomplex.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carotenoids / chemistry
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Energy Transfer
  • Light-Harvesting Protein Complexes / chemistry*
  • Light-Harvesting Protein Complexes / ultrastructure
  • Photosynthesis*
  • Photosystem I Protein Complex / chemistry*
  • Photosystem I Protein Complex / ultrastructure
  • Pisum sativum / enzymology*
  • Protein Structure, Secondary


  • Light-Harvesting Protein Complexes
  • Photosystem I Protein Complex
  • Carotenoids

Associated data

  • PDB/4XK8