Chlorosomes are unique light-harvesting structures found in two families of photosynthetic bacteria. In this study, three chlorosome proteins (CsmF, CsmH, and CsmX) of the green sulfur bacterium Chlorobium tepidum were characterized by cloning and sequencing the genes which encode them, by overproducing the respective proteins in Escherichia coli, and by raising polyclonal antisera to the purified proteins. Three other proteins (AtpF, CT1970 and CT2144) which were identified in chlorosome fractions have similarly been characterized. The antisera were used to establish the distribution of each protein in various cellular fractions. Ten chlorosome proteins (CsmA, CsmB, CsmC, CsmD, CsmE, CsmF, CsmH, CsmI, CsmJ and CsmX) copurified in a constant proportion together with bacteriochlorophyll c, and none of these 10 proteins was found in substantial amounts in other subcellular fractions. An antiserum to CsmH was highly effective in agglutinating chlorosomes, and antisera to CsmI, CsmJ, CsmX, and CsmA also immunoprecipitated chlorosomes to varying extents. However, an antiserum to CsmF did not agglutinate chlorosomes. The sequences of chlorosome proteins generally are not significantly similar to the sequences of other proteins in the databases. However, the N-terminal domains of three chlorosome proteins, CsmI, CsmJ, and CsmX, are related to adrenodoxin-type ferredoxins that ligate [2Fe-2S] clusters [Vassilieva, E. V., Antonkine, M. L., Zybailov, B. L., Yang, F., Jakobs, C. U., Golbeck, J. H., and Bryant, D. A. (2001) Biochemistry 40, 464-473]. The sequences of the C-terminal domains of these three proteins appear to be distantly related to CsmA and CsmE. The remaining chlorosome proteins can be divided into two additional structural families, CsmB/F and CsmC/D. CsmH is recovered in water-soluble form after overproduction in E. coli. Interestingly, this protein contains an N-terminal domain that is similar to CsmB/D, while its C-terminal domain is related to CsmC/D. The sequence relationships indicate that, although the protein composition of Chlorobium-type chlorosomes is superficially more complex than that of the chlorosomes of Chloroflexus aurantiacus, this heterogeneity is mostly produced by gene duplication and divergence among a small number of protein types.
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