Photosynthetic light-harvesting antennae are pigment-binding proteins that perform one of the most fundamental tasks on Earth, capturing light and transferring energy that enables life in our biosphere. Adaptation to different light environments led to the evolution of an astonishing diversity of light-harvesting systems. At the same time, several strategies have been developed to optimize the light energy input into photosynthetic membranes in response to fluctuating conditions. The basic feature of these prompt responses is the dynamic nature of antenna complexes, whose function readily adapts to the light available. High-resolution microscopy and spectroscopic studies on membrane dynamics demonstrate the crosstalk between antennae and other thylakoid membrane components. With the increased understanding of light-harvesting mechanisms and their regulation, efforts are focusing on the development of sustainable processes for effective conversion of sunlight into functional bio-products. The major challenge in this approach lies in the application of fundamental discoveries in light-harvesting systems for the improvement of plant or algal photosynthesis. Here, we underline some of the latest fundamental discoveries on the molecular mechanisms and regulation of light harvesting that can potentially be exploited for the optimization of photosynthesis.
DOI : https://doi.org/10.1093/plphys/kiac175