Researchers provide new insights into photosynthesis
Overall structure of the PSI dimer. a, View of individual proteins from stroma. b, Arrangement of the pigments in the outline of the map: chlorophylls green (Mg yellow), luteins blue, β-carotenes red, violaxanthin purple and neoxanthin pink. c, Overall view along the membrane. Credit: Nature Plants (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41477-022-01253-4

Life on Earth is dependent on photosynthesis. Plants and single-cellalgae use the sun's energy to convert it into sugars and fuels. Oxygen is let go in this process. Structural biologists from the University of Mnster in Germany and the University of Stockholm in Sweden have worked together to clarify the structure of a new complex of genes. The photosystem I is also known as amonomer in plants.

The team of researchers headed by Prof. Michael Hippler from the University of Mnster and Prof. The results of the study were published in the Nature Plants journal. In the future, they could help to use the reductive force more efficiently to produce hydrogen as a source of energy.

In the case of light with different wavelength, the photosystems I and II work well. Light energy can be taken into photosystems I and II and converted into chemical energy. The electrons from the photo system are sent to the ferredoxin.

In green algae, ferredoxin can send electrons to a hydrogenase, which in turn can produce hydrogen. It is possible that this hydrogen can act as a future source of energy due to the fact that it is produced by light energy. The researchers wanted to know how the production of hydrogen relates to the structural dynamics of the photo system.

The results are detailed.

The green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii has a photo system that consists of 40 proteins and 118 transmembranes. The absence of PsaH and Lhca2 led to a head-to-head orientation of the photosystem I and its associated light-harvesting proteins. Lhca9 is a light-harvesting protein.

The researchers defined the most precise model to a resolution of 2.3 ngstrm, including the flexible electron transmitter plastocyanin. The very efficient production of hydrogen in the double Mutant is due to the down-regulation of the Lhca2 molecule.

According to Michael Hippler, "We suggest that the hydrogenase may favor the targeting of photosynthetic electrons from the PSI dimer, as we proposed in our earlier work." In order to test the hypothesis of improved hydrogen production, we need to modify the structure of the PSI dimer.

More information: Andreas Naschberger et al, Algal photosystem I dimer and high-resolution model of PSI-plastocyanin complex, Nature Plants (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41477-022-01253-4 Journal information: Nature Plants