Structure of Chlorella ohadii Photosystem II Reveals Protective Mechanisms against Environmental Stress

Maria Fadeeva, Daniel Klaiman, Ido Caspy, Nathan Nelson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Green alga Chlorella ohadii is known for its ability to carry out photosynthesis under harsh conditions. Using cryogenic electron microscopy (cryoEM), we obtained a high-resolution structure of PSII at 2.72 Å. This structure revealed 64 subunits, which encompassed 386 chlorophylls, 86 carotenoids, four plastoquinones, and several structural lipids. At the luminal side of PSII, a unique subunit arrangement was observed to protect the oxygen-evolving complex. This arrangement involved PsbO (OEE1), PsbP (OEE2), PsbB, and PsbU (a homolog of plant OEE3). PsbU interacted with PsbO, PsbC, and PsbP, thereby stabilizing the shield of the oxygen-evolving complex. Significant changes were also observed at the stromal electron acceptor side. PsbY, identified as a transmembrane helix, was situated alongside PsbF and PsbE, which enclosed cytochrome b559. Supported by the adjacent C-terminal helix of Psb10, these four transmembrane helices formed a bundle that shielded cytochrome b559 from the surrounding solvent. Moreover, the bulk of Psb10 formed a protective cap, which safeguarded the quinone site and likely contributed to the stacking of PSII complexes. Based on our findings, we propose a protective mechanism that prevents QB (plastoquinone B) from becoming fully reduced. This mechanism offers insights into the regulation of electron transfer within PSII.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1971
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 2023


FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation199/21


    • cryoEM
    • green algae
    • oxygen evolving complex
    • photoprotection
    • photosynthesis
    • photosystem II
    • structure


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