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In photosynthesis, light energy is captured by pigments bound to light-harvesting antenna proteins (LHC) that then transfer the energy to the photosystem (PS) cores to initiate photochemical reactions. The LHC proteins surround the PS cores to form PS-LHC supercomplexes. In order to adapt to a wide range of light environments, photosynthetic organisms have developed a large variety of pigments and antenna proteins to utilize the light energy efficiently under different environments. Diatoms are a group of important eukaryotic algae and possess fucoxanthin (Fx) chlorophyll a/c proteins (FCP) as antenna which have exceptional capabilities of harvesting blue-green light under water and dissipate excess energy under strong light conditions. We have solved the structure of a PSII-FCPII supercomplex from a centric diatom Chaetoceros gracilis by cryo-electron microscopy, and also the structure of an isolated FCP dimer from a pennate diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum by X-ray crystallography at a high resolution. These results revealed the oligomerization states of FCPs distinctly different from those of LHCII found in the green lineage organisms, the detailed binding patterns of Chl c and Fxs, a huge pigment network, and extensive protein-protein, pigment-protein, and pigment-pigment interactions within the PSII-FCPII supercomplex. These results therefore provide a solid structural basis for examining the detailed mechanisms of the highly efficient energy transfer and quenching processes in diatoms. © 2019 Federation of European Biochemical Societies.


Wenda Wang, Songhao Zhao, Xiong Pi, Tingyun Kuang, Sen-Fang Sui, Jian-Ren Shen. Structural features of the diatom photosystem II-light-harvesting antenna complex. The FEBS journal. 2020 Jun;287(11):2191-2200

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PMID: 31854056

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