Chlorosomes are unique light-harvesting antennae found in two phyla of green bacteria: Chlorobi and Chloroflexi. In the green sulfur bacterium Chlorobium tepidum, 10 proteins (CsmA, CsmB, CsmC, CsmD, CsmE, CsmF, CsmH, CsmI, CsmJ, and CsmX) exist in the chlorosome envelope. Chlorosomes from the wild type and mutants lacking a single chlorosome protein were cross-linked with the zero-length cross-linker 1-ethyl-3-[3-(dimethylamino)propyl]carbodiimide (EDC) and analyzed by gel electrophoresis. Similar cross-linking products were observed when the time and temperature were varied or when EDC was replaced with glutaraldehyde. Specific interactions between chlorosome proteins in cross-linked products were identified by immunoblotting with polyclonal antibodies raised against recombinant chlorosome proteins. We confirmed these interactions by demonstrating that these products were missing in appropriate mutants. Confirming the location of CsmA in the paracrystalline baseplate, cross-linking showed that CsmA forms dimers, trimers, and homomultimers as large as dodecamers and that CsmA directly interacts with the Fenna-Matthews-Olson protein. Cross-linking further suggests that the precursor form of CsmA is inserted near the edges of the baseplate, where CsmA and pre-CsmA interact with CsmB and CsmF. Several chlorosome proteins, including CsmA, CsmC, CsmD, CsmH, CsmI, CsmJ, and CsmX, were shown to exist as homomultimers in the chlorosome envelope. On the basis of the structural information obtained from these cross-linking experiments, a model for the locations and interactions of the proteins of the chlorosome envelope is proposed.
Biochemistry, 2006, Vol 45, Issue 30, p. 9095-9103