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Under high light conditions, excess energy can damage the machinery of oxygenic photosynthesis. Plants have evolved a series of photoprotective processes, including conformational changes of the light-harvesting complexes that activate dissipation of energy as heat. In this mini-review, we will summarize our recent work developing and applying single-molecule methods to investigate the conformational states of the light-harvesting complexes. Through these measurements, we identified dissipative conformations and how they depend on conditions that mimic high light. Our studies revealed an equilibrium between the light-harvesting and dissipative conformations, and that the nature of the equilibrium varies with cellular environment, between proteins, and between species. Finally, we conclude with an outlook on open questions and implications for photosynthetic yields. Copyright © 2022 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Premashis Manna, Gabriela S Schlau-Cohen. Photoprotective conformational dynamics of photosynthetic light-harvesting proteins. Biochimica et biophysica acta. Bioenergetics. 2022 Apr 01;1863(4):148543

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PMID: 35202576

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