The PsaC protein binds two 4Fe-4S centers, FA and FB, in the photosystem I (PSI) protein complex. In the T398 strain of Anabaena variabilis ATCC 29413, the psaC gene encoding this protein has been insertionally inactivated by the introduction of a neomycin resistance gene cartridge in the coding region. Photosystem I complex was purified through native gel electrophoresis of β-dodecyl maltoside solubilized thylakoid membranes from wild-type and T398 strains of Anabaena 29413. The PSI complex from T398 strain retained functionally active P700, the reaction center chlorophylls. Interestingly, purified PSI complex from T398 cells lacked the PsaD, PsaE, and PsaL polypeptides. Western analysis with polyclonal antibodies raised against these proteins indicated that the two stromal exposed polypeptides, PsaD and PsaE, are absent in isolated thylakoid membranes from T398 cells. The PsaL polypeptide could be detected at a level comparable to that in wild-type thylakoid membranes, although it is absent in the PSI preparation from the mutant. These observations suggest that the PsaC protein is essential for the stable association of PsaD and PsaE, two hydrophilic, extrinsic polypeptides. Moreover, PsaL, a hydrophobic protein is loosely associated with PSI and is lost during the isolation of the PSI complex.
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