Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 111, Issue 1–2, pp 19–28 | Cite as

Phylogenetic analysis of the light-harvesting system in Chromera velia

Regular Paper


Chromera velia is a newly discovered photosynthetic eukaryotic alga that has functional chloroplasts closely related to the apicoplast of apicomplexan parasites. Recently, the chloroplast in C. velia was shown to be derived from the red algal lineage. Light-harvesting protein complexes (LHC), which are a group of proteins involved in photon capture and energy transfer in photosynthesis, are important for photosynthesis efficiency, photo-adaptation/accumulation and photo-protection. Although these proteins are encoded by genes located in the nucleus, LHC peptides migrate and function in the chloroplast, hence the LHC may have a different evolutionary history compared to chloroplast evolution. Here, we compare the phylogenetic relationship of the C. velia LHCs to LHCs from other photosynthetic organisms. Twenty-three LHC homologues retrieved from C. velia EST sequences were aligned according to their conserved regions. The C. velia LHCs are positioned in four separate groups on trees constructed by neighbour-joining, maximum likelihood and Bayesian methods. A major group of seventeen LHCs from C. velia formed a separate cluster that was closest to dinoflagellate LHC, and to LHC and fucoxanthin chlorophyll-binding proteins from diatoms. One C. velia LHC sequence grouped with LI1818/LI818-like proteins, which were recently identified as environmental stress-induced protein complexes. Only three LHC homologues from C. velia grouped with the LHCs from red algae.


Light-harvesting protein complexes (LHC) Chromera velia (C. veliaMembrane-spanning regions Chlorophyll-binding protein complexes 





Fucoxanthin chlorophyll-binding protein


Light-harvesting protein complexes


Light-harvesting complexes bound to photosystem I


Light-harvesting complexes bound to photosystem II


Magnesium divinyl pheoporphyrin a5 monomethyl ester


Maximum likelihood


Membrane-spanning regions





M.C. holds an Australian Research Council Queen Elizabeth II Fellowship and thanks the Australian Research Council for support. This work was partially supported by Australian Research Council Discovery Project DP0986372 to D.C. and J.Š. H.P. would like to thank Dr. P. Loughlin, Mr. Y. Lin and Ms. Y. Li for helpful discussions. M.C. thanks Dr. Roger Hiller for reading the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Biological Sciences (A08), Faculty of SciencesUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Faculty of Veterinary ScienceUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Discipline of Microbiology, School of Molecular BiosciencesUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

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