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Asymmetric structure of the native Rodobacter sphaeroides dimeric LH1-RC complex

14 Apr 2022

Summary of our research

Our work was performed on the most widely used wild-type strain of this organism and forms natural complement to our recent report of a previously unrecognized integral membrane protein (protein-U) in the LH1-RC complex from the same wild-type strain (Nat. Commun. 12, 6300, 2021). It presents a native dimeric LH1-RC structure for the first time, while a quite different conclusions exist in concerning Rba. sphaeroides dimeric LH1-RC structure. Thus, our results are crucial for understanding the structure and function of this complex as it exists in the native membrane environment.

In addition to our dimeric structure, our paper includes the structure of the LH1-RC from a protein-U knockout mutant of Rba. sphaeroides (strain ΔU), clarifying the structural and functional roles of this newly discovered protein. In combination, these findings allowed us to build an assembly model for dimerization of the LH1-RC complex in native membranes.

Finally, our study lays the necessary foundation for further advancing studies of photosynthetic light reactions in the most widely used model phototrophic bacterium and should thus appeal to a broad scientific audience, particularly those whose interests include photosynthesis and bioenergetics, structural biology, and the diversity of photosynthetic life on Earth.


Researcher information

TANI Kazutoshi

Appointed Professor, Mie University

Specialized area:

structural biology


Professor, Mie University

Specialized area:

electron microscopy (Anatomy)

Zeng-Yu Wang-Otomo

Professor, Ibaraki University

Specialized area:

biological structural chemistry