, Volume 56, Issue 1, pp 254–264 | Cite as

Increased thermal stability of photosystem II and the macro-organization of thylakoid membranes, induced by co-solutes, associated with changes in the lipid-phase behaviour of thylakoid membranes

  • C. Kotakis
  • P. Akhtar
  • O. Zsiros
  • G. Garab
  • P. H. Lambrev


The principal function of the thylakoid membrane depends on the integrity of the lipid bilayer, yet almost half of the thylakoid lipids are of non-bilayer-forming type, whose exact functions are not fully understood. Non-bilayer lipids can be extruded from the membrane in the presence of high concentrations of co-solutes. We applied 2 M sucrose to induce lipid phase separation in isolated thylakoid membranes, following consequent structural and physiological effects. Circular dichroism spectroscopy indicated significant changes in the chiral macro-arrangement of the pigment–protein complexes, which were reversed after washing out the co-solute. Similarly, merocyanine-540 fluorescence suggested reversible changes in the lipid phases. The PSII function, as tested by chlorophyll fluorescence induction transients and time-resolved fluorescence, was almost unaffected. However, the presence of sucrose dramatically increased the PSII thermostability, which can partly be explained by a direct osmolyte effect and partly by the lipid phase separation stabilizing the stacked membrane.

Additional key words

circular dichroism merocyanine-540 non-bilayer lipids osmolyte time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy 



circular dichroism




decay-associated emission spectra




instrument response function








polymer and salt induced




time-correlated single-photon counting


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Copyright information

© The Institute of Experimental Botany 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Kotakis
    • 1
  • P. Akhtar
    • 1
    • 2
  • O. Zsiros
    • 1
  • G. Garab
    • 1
    • 3
  • P. H. Lambrev
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Plant Biology, Biological Research CentreHungarian Academy of SciencesSzegedHungary
  2. 2.Doctoral School in Biology, Faculty of Science and InformaticsUniversity of SzegedSzegedHungary
  3. 3.Department of Physics, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of OstravaOstravaCzech Republic

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