Although the light-harvesting chlorophyll protein complex I (LHCI) of photosystem I (PSI) is intimately associated with the PSI core complex and forms the PSI-LHCI supercomplex, the LHCI is normally synthesized in PSI-deficient mutants. In this paper, we compared the subunit compositions of the PSI-LHCI supercomplex and the LHCI by immunoblot analysis and two-dimensional gel electrophoresis combined with mass spectrometry. The PSI-LHCI supercomplex and the LHCI were purified by sucrose density gradient centrifugation and (diethylamino)ethyl column chromatography from n-dodecyl-β-D-maltoside- solubilized thylakoids of the wild-type and ΔpsaB mutant of the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. The PSI-LHCI supercomplex contained all of the nine Lhca polypeptides (Lhca1 - 9) that are detected in wild-type thylakoids. In contrast, the LHCI retained only six Lhca polypeptides, whereas Lhca3 and two minor polypeptides, Lhca2 and Lhca9, were lost during the purification procedure. Sucrose density gradient centrifugation showed that the purified LHCI retains an oligomeric structure with an apparent molecular mass of 300-400 kDa. We therefore concluded that Lhca2, Lhca3, and Lhca9 are not required for the stable oligomeric structure of the LHCI and that the association of these polypeptides in the LHCI is stabilized by the presence of the PSI core complex. Finally, we discuss the possible localization and function of Lhca polypeptides in the LHCI.
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