Pigment configuration in the light-harvesting protein of the xanthophyte alga Xanthonema debile

Photosynth Res. 2018 Nov;138(2):139-148. doi: 10.1007/s11120-018-0557-1. Epub 2018 Jul 13.


The soil chromophyte alga Xanthonema (X.) debile contains only non-carbonyl carotenoids and Chl-a. X. debile has an antenna system denoted Xanthophyte light-harvesting complex (XLH) that contains the carotenoids diadinoxanthin, heteroxanthin, and vaucheriaxanthin. The XLH pigment stoichiometry was calculated by chromatographic techniques and the pigment-binding structure studied by resonance Raman spectroscopy. The pigment ratio obtained by HPLC was found to be close to 8:1:2:1 Chl-a:heteroxanthin:diadinoxanthin:vaucheriaxanthin. The resonance Raman spectra suggest the presence of 8-10 Chl-a, all of which are 5-coordinated to the central Mg, with 1-3 Chl-a possessing a macrocycle distorted from the relaxed conformation. The three populations of carotenoids are in the all-trans configuration. Vaucheriaxanthin absorbs around 500-530 nm, diadinoxanthin at 494 nm and heteroxanthin at 487 nm at 4.5 K. The effective conjugation length of heteroxanthin and diadinoxanthin has been determined as 9.4 in both cases; the environment polarizability of the heteroxanthin and diadinoxanthin binding pockets is 0.270 and 0.305, respectively.

Keywords: Algae; Carotenoids; Chl-a; Diadinoxanthin; Heteroxanthin; Light-harvesting complex; Resonance Raman.

MeSH terms

  • Carotenoids / chemistry
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Light-Harvesting Protein Complexes / chemistry*
  • Protein Conformation
  • Spectrum Analysis, Raman
  • Stramenopiles / chemistry*


  • Light-Harvesting Protein Complexes
  • Carotenoids