State transitions represent a photoacclimation process that regulates the light-driven photosynthetic reactions in response to changes in light quality/quantity. It balances the excitation between photosystem I (PSI) and II (PSII) by shuttling LHCII, the main light-harvesting complex of green algae and plants, between them. This process is particularly important in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii in which it is suggested to induce a large reorganization in the thylakoid membrane. Phosphorylation has been shown to be necessary for state transitions and the LHCII kinase has been identified. However, the consequences of state transitions on the structural organization and the functionality of the photosystems have not yet been elucidated. This situation is mainly because the purification of the supercomplexes has proved to be particularly difficult, thus preventing structural and functional studies. Here, we have purified and analysed PSI and PSII supercomplexes of C. reinhardtii in states 1 and 2, and have studied them using biochemical, spectroscopic and structural methods. It is shown that PSI in state 2 is able to bind two LHCII trimers that contain all four LHCII types, and one monomer, most likely CP29, in addition to its nine Lhcas. This structure is the largest PSI complex ever observed, having an antenna size of 340 Chls/P700. Moreover, all PSI-bound Lhcs are efficient in transferring energy to PSI. A projection map at 20 Å resolution reveals the structural organization of the complex. Surprisingly, only LHCII type I, II and IV are phosphorylated when associated with PSI, while LHCII type III and CP29 are not, but CP29 is phosphorylated when associated with PSII in state2. © 2014 The Authors The Plant Journal © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.