Journal Article

New Insights in Thylakoid Membrane Organization

Stephan Pfeiffer and Karin Krupinska

in Plant and Cell Physiology

Published on behalf of Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists

Volume 46, issue 9, pages 1443-1451
Published in print September 2005 | ISSN: 0032-0781
Published online September 2005 | e-ISSN: 1471-9053 | DOI:
New Insights in Thylakoid Membrane Organization

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  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry


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High-pressure freezing (HPF) in combination with freeze substitution (FS) was used to analyse changes in the structure of barley chloroplasts during the daily change of light and darkness. In contrast to conventional treatment of samples, HPF-FS revealed substantial differences in chloroplast shape, volume and ultrastructure in the light period and during darkness. While chloroplasts have an ellipsoidal shape in the light, they have an enlarged and round form during the dark period. Samples collected in the light show the typical differentiation of stroma and grana thylakoids as observed by conventional ultrastructural analyses. In chloroplasts of samples collected during the dark period, thylakoids were swollen and grana stacks to a large extent were disintegrated. Similar changes occurred when leaves in the light were treated with the uncoupler gramicidin. The results suggest that the light-dependent changes in thylakoid membrane organization are related to the light-dependent changes in the ionic milieu of the thylakoid lumen and the stroma.

Keywords: Freeze substitution; High-pressure freezing; Gramicidin; Plant ultrastructure; Thylakoid membrane organization; CLSM, confocal laser scanning microscopy; FS, freeze substitution; HPF, high-pressure freezing; LSU, large subunit; NPQ, non-photochemical fluorescence quenching; Rubisco, ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate/carboxylase/oxygenase; TEM, transmission electron microscopy

Journal Article.  5496 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biochemistry ; Molecular and Cell Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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