Photosynthetic organisms convert sunlight energy into a form that can be used by cells. Kunio Miki and colleagues have now solved the first near-atomic-level structure of a complete bacterial light-harvesting antenna–reaction centre (LH1–RC) complex, bound to Ca2+ and various cofactors. The LH1 subunits form a ring surrounding the reaction centre, with bacteriochlorophyll and spirilloxanthin cofactors positioned within the ring and Ca2+ ions on the periplasmic side of LH1. The structure reveals how energy is transferred from the antenna to the reaction centre in a highly efficient way and suggests how ubiquinone might cross a closed LH1 barrier.
- Structure of the LH1–RC complex from Thermochromatium tepidum at 3.0 Å (Article p228, doi: 10.1038/nature13197)
- The purple heart of photosynthesis (News & Views p196, doi: 10.1038/nature13219)
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