Lipid and protein dynamics of stacked and cation-depletion induced unstacked thylakoid membranes

F. Nami, L. Tian, M. Huber, R. Croce, A. Pandit

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


© 2021Chloroplast thylakoid membranes in plants and green algae form 3D architectures of stacked granal membranes interconnected by unstacked stroma lamellae. They undergo dynamic structural changes as a response to changing light conditions that involve grana unstacking and lateral supramolecular reorganization of the integral membrane protein complexes. We assessed the dynamics of thylakoid membrane components and addressed how they are affected by thylakoid unstacking, which has consequences for protein mobility and the diffusion of small electron carriers. By a combined nuclear and electron paramagnetic-resonance approach the dynamics of thylakoid lipids was assessed in stacked and cation-depletion induced unstacked thylakoids of Chlamydomonas (C.) reinhardtii. We could distinguish between structural, bulk and annular lipids and determine membrane fluidity at two membrane depths: close to the lipid headgroups and in the lipid bilayer center. Thylakoid unstacking significantly increased the dynamics of bulk and annular lipids in both areas and increased the dynamics of protein helices. The unstacking process was associated with membrane reorganization and loss of long-range ordered Photosystem II- Light-Harvesting Complex II (PSII-LHCII) complexes. The fluorescence lifetime characteristics associated with membrane unstacking are similar to those associated with state transitions in intact C. reinhardtii cells. Our findings could be relevant for understanding the structural and functional implications of thylakoid unstacking that is suggested to take place during several light-induced processes, such as state transitions, photoacclimation, photoinhibition and PSII repair.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100015
JournalBBA Advances
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


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