Journal Article

Electron tomography of plant thylakoid membranes

Bertram Daum and Werner Kühlbrandt

in Journal of Experimental Botany

Published on behalf of Society for Experimental Biology

Volume 62, issue 7, pages 2393-2402
Published in print April 2011 | ISSN: 0022-0957
Published online March 2011 | e-ISSN: 1460-2431 | DOI:
Electron tomography of plant thylakoid membranes

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For more than half a century, electron microscopy has been a main tool for investigating the complex ultrastructure and organization of chloroplast thylakoid membranes, but, even today, the three-dimensional relationship between stroma and grana thylakoids, and the arrangement of the membrane protein complexes within them are not fully understood. Electron cryo-tomography (cryo-ET) is a powerful new technique for visualizing cellular structures, especially membranes, in three dimensions. By this technique, large membrane protein complexes, such as the photosystem II supercomplex or the chloroplast ATP synthase, can be visualized directly in the thylakoid membrane at molecular (4–5nm) resolution. This short review compares recent advances by cryo-ET of plant thylakoid membranes with earlier results obtained by conventional electron microscopy.

Keywords: cF1Fo ATP synthase; chloroplast; electron cryotomography; photosystem II; plastoglobules; thylakoid membrane; thylakoid ultrastructure

Journal Article.  5536 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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