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Crystal structure of the complex between the photosynthetic reaction center and the light-harvesting antenna core proteins (Press Release)

Release Date
27 Mar, 2014
  • BL41XU (Structural Biology I)
  • BL44XU (Macromolecular Assemblies)

27 Mar, 2014
Kyoto University

The research group of Kyoto University (led by Prof. Kunio Miki, Graduate School of Science) and Ibaraki University (led by Prof. Zheng-Yu Wang-Otomo, Faculty of Science) determined the crystal structure of a supramolecular complex in photosynthetic bacteria (*1) performing primitive photosynthesis without oxygen-evolution. The first near-atomic structure of the LH1-RC complex between the light-harvesting antenna core complex (LH1) and the photosynthetic reaction center (RC) precisely elucidated the architecture of protein subunits in the complex and the positions and orientations of cofactors (*3) such as bacteriochlorophyll (*2) bound to the complex.

Structure of the LH1–RC complex from Thermochromatium tepidum at 3.0 Å
Satomi Niwa*, Long-Jiang Yu*, Kazuki Takeda*, Yu Hirano, Tomoaki Kawakami, Zheng-Yu Wang-Otomo, Kunio Miki (*These authors contributed equally to this work.)
Nature, 508, 228-232 (2014), published online on March 26, 2014



(A) Molecular structure of the LH1-RC complex. RC (magenta) located at the central part is surrounded by LH1 (green). (B) Positions and orientations of bacteriochlorophylls in LH1 (purple) and in RC (red-purple). Light energy is transferred to RC's bacteriochlorophylls. (C) Channel in LH1 of possible diffusion route for ubiquinones

*1 Photosynthetic bacteria

Bacteria living in lakes and marshes and performing primitive photosynthesis without oxygen-evolution

*2 Bacteriochlorophyll
A pigment molecule with a similar structure to chlorophyll used in photosynthetic bacteria

*3 Cofactor
Small molecules accommodated in proteins such as pigments and metal ions and assisting protein function. Various cofactors such as chlorophylls, carotenoids and hemes are employed in photosynthetic apparatuses.

For more information, please contact:
 Prof. Kunio Miki (Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University)
     E-mail : mail1

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