Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 126, Issue 2–3, pp 189–202 | Cite as

Organization of chlorophyll biosynthesis and insertion of chlorophyll into the chlorophyll-binding proteins in chloroplasts



Oxygenic photosynthesis requires chlorophyll (Chl) for the absorption of light energy, and charge separation in the reaction center of photosystem I and II, to feed electrons into the photosynthetic electron transfer chain. Chl is bound to different Chl-binding proteins assembled in the core complexes of the two photosystems and their peripheral light-harvesting antenna complexes. The structure of the photosynthetic protein complexes has been elucidated, but mechanisms of their biogenesis are in most instances unknown. These processes involve not only the assembly of interacting proteins, but also the functional integration of pigments and other cofactors. As a precondition for the association of Chl with the Chl-binding proteins in both photosystems, the synthesis of the apoproteins is synchronized with Chl biosynthesis. This review aims to summarize the present knowledge on the posttranslational organization of Chl biosynthesis and current attempts to envision the proceedings of the successive synthesis and integration of Chl into Chl-binding proteins in the thylakoid membrane. Potential auxiliary factors, contributing to the control and organization of Chl biosynthesis and the association of Chl with the Chl-binding proteins during their integration into photosynthetic complexes, are discussed in this review.


Tetrapyrrole biosynthesis Chloroplast biogenesis Chlorophyll Photosynthesis Light-harvesting antenna complex Chloroplast signal recognition particle 



This work was supported by a grant of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft given to BG in the framework of the Priority Program 1710 (Dynamics of Thiol-based Redox Switches in Cellular Physiology). We thank Pawel Brzezowski, Andreas Richter and Boris Hedtke for critically reading the manuscript. No conflict of interest declared.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Biology/Plant PhysiologyHumboldt-University BerlinBerlinGermany

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