An alternative model for photosystem II/light harvesting complex II in grana membranes based on cryo-electron microscopy studies

Robert C. Ford, Svetla S. Stoylova, Andreas Holzenburg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


The photosynthetic protein complexes in plants are located in the chloroplast thylakoid membranes. These membranes have an ultrastructure that consists of tightly stacked 'grana' regions interconnected by unstacked membrane regions. The structure of isolated grana membranes has been studied here by cryo-electron microscopy. The data reveals an unusual arrangement of the photosynthetic protein complexes, staggered over two tightly stacked planes. Chaotrope treatment of the paired grana membranes has allowed the separation and isolation of two biochemically distinct membrane fractions. These data have led us to an alternative model of the ultrastructure of the grana where segregation exists within the grana itself. This arrangement would change the existing view of plant photosynthesis, and suggests potential links between cyanobacterial and plant photosystem II light harvesting systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)326-336
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Biochemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 9 2002



  • Electron crystallography
  • Light-harvesting
  • Photosynthesis
  • Photosystem II
  • Structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry

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