Purification of Active Photosystem I-Light Harvesting Complex I from Plant Tissues

Christopher Gorski, Yuval Mazor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This method is used to isolate Photosystem I (PSI) together with the Light Harvesting Complex I (LHCI), its native antenna, from plants. PSI-LHCI is a large membrane protein complex coordinating hundreds of light harvesting and electron transport factors and is the most efficient light harvesting system found in nature. Photons absorbed by the four LHCA antenna proteins that make up LHCI are transferred through excitonic interaction to the PSI core reaction center and are used to facilitate light-driven charge separation across the thylakoid membrane, providing reducing power and energy for carbon fixation in photoautotrophic organisms. The high quantum efficiency of PSI makes this complex an excellent model to study light-driven energy transfer. In this protocol, plant tissue is mechanically homogenized, and the chloroplasts are separated from the bulk cellular debris by filtration and centrifugation. The isolated chloroplasts are then osmotically lysed, and the thylakoid membranes are recovered via centrifugation and solubilized using the detergent n-dodecyl-beta-maltoside. The solubilized material is loaded onto an anion exchange column to collect most of the chlorophyll-containing complexes. Larger complexes are precipitated from the solution, resuspended in a small volume, and loaded on sucrose gradients to separate the major chlorophyll-containing complexes. The resulting sucrose gradient fractions are characterized to identify the band of interest containing PSI-LHCI. This protocol is highly similar to the protocol used in the crystallization of plant PSI-LHCI with some simplifications and relies on methods developed over the years in the lab of Nathan Nelson.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere65037
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number192
StatePublished - Feb 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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