Beyond ‘seeing is believing’: the antenna size of the photosystems in vivo

Roberta Croce*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Photosystems I and II are the central components of the solar energy conversion machinery in oxygenic photosynthesis. They are large functional units embedded in the photosynthetic membranes, where they harvest light and use its energy to drive electrons from water to NADPH. Their composition and organization change in response to different environmental conditions, making these complexes dynamic units. Some of the interactions between subunits survive purification, resulting in the well-defined structures that were recently resolved by cryo-electron microscopy. Other interactions instead are weak, preventing the possibility of isolating and thus studying these complexes in vitro. This review focuses on these supercomplexes of vascular plants, which at the moment cannot be ‘seen’ but that represent functional units in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1214-1218
Number of pages5
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number4
Early online date19 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020


  • light-harvesting complexes
  • photosynthesis
  • Photosystem I
  • Photosystem II
  • thylakoid membrane


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