The localisation of the xanthophyll neoxanthin within the structure of the major light harvesting complex (LHCII) of higher plants has been investigated by site-directed mutagenesis and spectroscopic methods. Mutation analysis performed on pigment binding sites in different helix domains leads to selective loss of neoxanthin for mutations on helix C thus localising this pigment between the helix C and helix A/B domains. Recombinant proteins binding two lutein molecules per polypeptide but lacking neoxanthin have been used in order to determine the contribution of neoxanthin to the absorption and linear dichroism spectra. The data were used to derive the orientation of the neoxanthin transition moment, lying in the polyene chain, which was thus determined to form an angle of 57±1.5°with respect to the normal to the membrane plane where the protein is inserted. On the basis of these results we propose a model for the localisation of the carotenoid site in the LHCII structure which is still unresolved. Copyright (C) 1999 Federation of European Biochemical Societies.
- Linear dichroism