Caister Academic Press

Structural and Functional Dynamics of the Thylakoid Membrane System

Sujith Puthiyaveetil, Helmut Kirchhoff and Ricarda Höhner
from: Chloroplasts: Current Research and Future Trends (Edited by: Helmut Kirchhoff). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2016) Pages: 59-88.


The thylakoid membrane harbors the photosynthetic machinery and is the site of light reactions in plants, algae, and cyanobacteria. In plants and green algae it stacks up to form the remarkable granal structures, the origin of which is likely to be a compromise between efficient light harvesting and diffusional freedom of electron carriers. Diffusional limitation in the highly crowded thylakoid membrane may also keep the grana diameter in check. The semi-crystalline array formation of photosystems and compositional changes in thylakoid lipids are strategies to overcome diffusional limitations under a variety of abiotic stresses. Under light and nutrient stress, the thylakoid membrane is profoundly reconfigured in ultrastructure, organization and composition. This striking plasticity in the structure and function of the thylakoid membrane tunes photosynthetic energy conversion in changing environmental and developmental conditions. A complete understanding of thylakoid membrane flexibility may illuminate and inform reengineering of photosynthesis and the design of artificial photosynthetic membranes read more ...
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