Self-assembly of photosynthetic membranes

Jen Hsin, Danielle E. Chandler, James Gumbart, Christopher B. Harrison, Melih Sener, Johan Strumpfer, Klaus Schulten

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Bacterial photosynthetic membranes, also known as chromatophores, are tightly packed with integral membrane proteins that work together to carry out photosynthesis. Chromatophores display a wide range of cellular morphologies; spherical, tubular, and lamellar chromatophores have all been observed in different bacterial species, or with different protein constituents. Through recent computational modeling and simulation, it has been demonstrated that the light-harvesting complexes abundant in chromatophores induce local membrane curvature via multiple mechanisms. These protein complexes assemble to generate a global curvature and sculpt the chromatophores into various cellular-scale architectures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1154-1159
Number of pages6
Issue number6
StatePublished - Apr 26 2010


  • Chromatophores
  • Membrane curvature
  • Membranes
  • Photosynthesis
  • Self-assembly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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