Thylakoids of land plants have a bipartite structure, consisting of cylindrical grana stacks, made of membranous discs piled one on top of the other, and stroma lamellae which are helically wound around the cylinders. Protein complexes predominantly located in the stroma lamellae and grana end membranes are either bulky [photosystem I (PSI) and the chloroplast ATP synthase (cpATPase)] or are involved in cyclic electron flow [the NAD(P)H dehydrogenase (NDH) and PGRL1–PGR5 heterodimers], whereas photosystem II (PSII) and its light-harvesting complex (LHCII) are found in the appressed membranes of the granum. Stacking of grana is thought to be due to adhesion between Lhcb proteins (LHCII or CP26) located in opposed thylakoid membranes. The grana margins contain oligomers of CURT1 proteins, which appear to control the size and number of grana discs in a dosage- and phosphorylation-dependent manner. Depending on light conditions, thylakoid membranes undergo dynamic structural changes that involve alterations in granum diameter and height, vertical unstacking of grana, and swelling of the thylakoid lumen. This plasticity is realized predominantly by reorganization of the supramolecular structure of protein complexes within grana stacks and by changes in multiprotein complex composition between appressed and non-appressed membrane domains. Reversible phosphorylation of LHC proteins (LHCPs) and PSII components appears to initiate most of the underlying regulatory mechanisms. An update on the roles of lipids, proteins, and protein complexes, as well as possible trafficking mechanisms, during thylakoid biogenesis and the de-etiolation process complements this review.
Journal of Experimental Botany, 2014, Vol 65, Issue 8, p. 1955-1972