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Thylakoid membranes in cyanobacterial cells and chloroplasts of algae and higher plants are the sites of oxygenic photosynthesis. The lipid composition of the thylakoid membrane is unique and highly conserved among oxygenic photosynthetic organisms. Major lipids in thylakoid membranes are glycolipids, monogalactosyldiacylglycerol, digalactosyldiacylglycerol and sulfoquinovosyldiacylglycerol, and the phospholipid, phosphatidylglycerol. The identification of almost all genes involved in the biosynthesis of each lipid class over the past decade has allowed the generation and isolation of mutants of various photosynthetic organisms incapable of synthesizing specific lipids. Numerous studies using such mutants have revealed that these lipids play important roles not only in the formation of the lipid bilayers of thylakoid membranes but also in the folding and assembly of the protein subunits in photosynthetic complexes. In addition to the studies with the mutants, recent X-ray crystallography studies of photosynthetic complexes in thylakoid membranes have also provided critical information on the association of lipids with photosynthetic complexes and their activities. In this chapter, we summarize our current understanding about the structural and functional involvement of thylakoid lipids in oxygenic photosynthesis.


Koichi Kobayashi, Kaichiro Endo, Hajime Wada. Roles of Lipids in Photosynthesis. Sub-cellular biochemistry. 2016;86:21-49

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PMID: 27023230

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