Extrinsic proteins of photosystem II: An intermediate member of the PsbQ protein family in red algal PS II

Hisataka Ohta, Takehiro Suzuki, Masaji Ueno, Akinori Okumura, Shizue Yoshihara, Jian Ren Shen, Isao Enami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


The oxygen-evolving photosystem II (PS II) complex of red algae contains four extrinsic proteins of 12 kDa, 20 kDa, 33 kDa and cyt c-550, among which the 20 kDa protein is unique in that it is not found in other organisms. We cloned the gene for the 20-kDa protein from a red alga Cyanidium caldarium. The gene consists of a leader sequence which can be divided into two parts: one for transfer across the plastid envelope and the other for transfer into thylakoid lumen, indicating that the gene is encoded by the nuclear genome. The sequence of the mature 20-kDa protein has low but significant homology with the extrinsic 17-kDa (PsbQ) protein of PS II from green algae Volvox Carteri and Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, as well as the PsbQ protein of higher plants and PsbQ-like protein from cyanobacteria. Cross-reconstitution experiments with combinations of the extrinsic proteins and PS Us from the red alga Cy. caldarium and green alga Ch. reinhardtii showed that the extrinsic 20-kDa protein was functional in place of the green algal 17-kDa protein on binding to the green algal PS II and restoration of oxygen evolution. From these results, we conclude that the 20-kDa protein is the ancestral form of the extrinsic 17-kDa protein in green algal and higher plant PS IIs. This provides an important clue to the evolution of the oxygen-evolving complex from prokaryotic cyanobacteria to eukaryotic higher plants. The gene coding for the extrinsic 20-kDa protein was named psbQ′ (prime).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4156-4163
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Biochemistry
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2003


  • Extrinsic protein
  • Oxygen evolution
  • Photosystem II
  • Red alga
  • psbQ

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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