Characterization of a gene encoding the light-harvesting violaxanthin-chlorophyll protein of Nannochloropsis sp. (Eustigmatophyceae)

Assaf Sukenik, Alexander Livne, Kirk E. Apt, Arthur R. Grossman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


In contrast to vascular plants, green algae, and diatoms, the major light-harvesting complex of the marine eustigmatophyte genus Nannochloropsis is a violaxanthin-chlorophyll a protein complex that lacks chlorophylls b and c. The isolation of a single polypeptide from the light-harvesting complex of Nannochloropsis sp. (IOLR strain) was previously reported (Sukenik et al. 1992). The NH2-terminal amino acid sequence of this polypeptide was significantly similar to NH2-terminal sequences of the light-harvesting fucoxanthin, chlorophyll a/c polypeptides from the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum Bohlin. Using polyclonal antibodies raised to the Nannochloropsis light-harvesting polypeptide, a gene encoding this polypeptide was isolated from a cDNA expression library. The deduced amino acid sequence of the Nannochloropsis violaxanthin-chlorophyll a polypeptide reveals a 36 amino acid presequence followed by 173 amino acids that constitute the mature polypeptide. The mature polypeptide has 30%-40% sequence identity to the diatom fucoxanthin-chlorophyll a/c polypeptides and less then 27% identity to the green algal and vascular plant light-harvesting chlorophyll polypeptides that bind both chlorophylls a and b. Its molecular mass, as deduced from the gene sequence, is 18.4 kDa with three putative transmembrane helices and several residues that may be involved in chlorophyll binding. The cDNA encoding the violaxanthin-chlorophyll a polypeptide was used to isolate and characterize a 10 kb genomic fragment containing the entire gene. The open reading frame was interrupted by five introns ranging in size from 123 to 449 bp. The intron borders have typical eukaryotic GT . . . AG sequences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)563-570
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Phycology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Eustigmatophyceae
  • Light harvesting
  • Nannochloropsis
  • Violaxanthin-chlorophyll protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Plant Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Characterization of a gene encoding the light-harvesting violaxanthin-chlorophyll protein of Nannochloropsis sp. (Eustigmatophyceae)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this