The distribution of divinyl chlorophylls a and b and the presence of ferredoxin-NADP + reductase in Prochlorococcus marinus MIT9313 thylakoid membranes

Heliyon. 2018 Dec 28;4(12):e01100. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2018.e01100. eCollection 2018 Dec.


The marine unicellular green cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus marinus MIT9313 belongs to the most abundant and photosynthetically productive genus of cyanobacteria in the oceans. This monophyletic genus use divinyl chlorophyll a (Chl a 2 ) and b (Chl b 2 ) to build the photosystems and the membrane-intrinsic Pcb-type antennae. We used the mild detergent n-dodecyl β D-maltopyranoside to solubilize the thylakoid membranes. Gel electrophoresis and sucrose gradient ultracentrifugation was then used to separate the complexes of the photosynthetic apparatus. The proteins and the pigments were identified by mass spectrometry. Protein complexes were characterized biochemically, and the distribution of Chl a 2 and Chl b 2 was determined. The photosynthetic apparatus was shown as supercomplexes formed by Photosystem II dimers with up to eight PcbB proteins; Photosystem I was present as trimers. A heterogeneous distribution of pigments was shown using sucrose gradient-enriched fractions with ratios of [Chl b 2 ]/[Chl a 2 ] of 2.16 ± 0.13, 1.86 ± 0.08, and 2.61 ± 0.07, for Photosystem I, Photosystem II, and PcbB, respectively. These ratios of Chl b/a are without precedent in organisms with oxygenic photosynthesis. Diaphorase activity was measured in the fractions of the sucrose gradient. Gel electrophoresis, immunodetection, and mass spectrometry were used to conclude that the commonly soluble protein ferredoxin-NADP+ reductase (FNR) is a membrane-anchored protein (probably associated to cytochrome b 6 f complex) in the low-light adapted Prochlorococcus marinus MIT9313.

Keywords: Biochemistry.