Captured photosynthetic bacteria lights showed the precise 3D atomic structure of the protein complex – One step closer to the effective use of light energy

April 05(Thu), 2018

Long-Jiang Yu, Assistant Professor (a Special Contract Personnel), Jian-Ren Shen, Professor (a visiting research scholar at RIKEN Spring-8 Center) at the Research Institute for Interdisciplinary Science (Graduate School of Natural Science and Technology) of Okayama University, and their research group solved the high-resolution 3D structure of a light-harvesting 1-reaction center (LH1-RC) complex (Fig. 1) from a purple photosynthetic bacterium using X-rays from a large synchrotron radiation facility SPing-8. LH1-RC is an extremely large membrane protein complex consisting of 36 proteins with a total molecular mass of 400 kDa, and functions to harvest light energy and to convert them into chemical energy in bacterial photosynthesis. The detailed structure solved by Shen’s group provided the basis for elucidating the detailed mechanisms of highly efficient energy and electron transfers in bacterial photosynthesis, which will provide important clues to the effective use of sunlight energy by means of artificial photosynthesis to benefit the realization of a sustainable society.

This research result has been published in the issue of April 12, 2018, in the journal “Nature”.

Fig. 1. Structure of the LH1-RC super-complex from a purple photosynthetic bacterium viewed from the side of the membrane (panels a, b) and top of the membrane (c, d).

Article Information


Authors: Long-Jiang Yu, Michihiro Suga, Zheng-Yu Wang-Otomo, Jian-Ren Shen

Journal: Nature

Title: Structure of photosynthetic LH1-RC super-complex at 1.9 Å resolution

Date of Publication: April 12, 2018

Volume: 556, pp. 209-213

Okayama University Silicon Valley Office (OUSVO)

Contact: Mototaka Senda, Ph.D.

Phone:    (1)510-894-3067


Back to List