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The Nonbilayer Lipid MGDG and the Major Light-Harvesting Complex (LHCII) Promote Membrane Stacking in Supported Lipid Bilayers

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journal contribution
posted on 26.03.2018 by Dennis Seiwert, Hannes Witt, Sandra Ritz, Andreas Janshoff, Harald Paulsen
The thylakoid membrane of algae and land plants is characterized by its intricate architecture, comprising tightly appressed membrane stacks termed grana. The contributions of individual components to grana stack formation are not yet fully elucidated. As an in vitro model, we use supported lipid bilayers made of thylakoid lipid mixtures to study the effect of major light-harvesting complex (LHCII), different lipids, and ions on membrane stacking, seen as elevated structures forming on top of the planar membrane surface in the presence of LHCII protein. These structures were examined by confocal laser scanning microscopy, atomic force microscopy, and fluorescence recovery after photobleaching, revealing multilamellar LHCII–membrane stacks composed of connected lipid bilayers. Both native-like and non-native interactions between the LHCII complexes may contribute to membrane appression in the supported bilayers. However, applying in vivo-like salt conditions to uncharged glycolipid membranes drastically increased the level of stack formation due to enforced LHCII–LHCII interactions, which is in line with recent crystallographic and cryo-electron microscopic data [Wan, T., et al. (2014) Mol. Plant 7, 916–919; Albanese, P., et al. (2017) Sci. Rep. 7, 10067–10083]. Furthermore, we observed the nonbilayer lipid MGDG to strongly promote membrane stacking, pointing to the long-term proposed function of MGDG in stabilizing the inner membrane leaflet of highly curved margins in the periphery of each grana disc because of its negative intrinsic curvature [Murphy, D. J. (1982) FEBS Lett. 150, 19–26].