The thylakoid system is suspended in the stroma. The thylakoid system is a collection of membranous sacks called thylakoids. The chlorophyll is found in the thylakoids and is the sight for the process of light reactions of photosynthesis to happen. The thylakoids are arranged in stacks known as grana.
Each granum contains around 10-20 thylakoids.
Thylakoids are interconnected small sacks, the membranes of these thylakoids is the site for the light reactions of the photosynthesis to take place. The word 'thylakoid' is derived from the Greek word "thylakos" which means 'sack'.
Important protein complexes which carry out light reaction of photosynthesis are embedded in the membranes of the thylakoids. The Photosystem I and the Photosystem II are complexes that harvest light with chlorophyll and carotenoids, they absorb the light energy and use it to energize the electrons.
The molecules present in the thylakoid membrane use the electrons that are energized to pump hydrogen ions into the thylakoid space, this decrease the pH and become acidic in nature. A large protein complex known as the ATP synthase controls the concentration gradient of the hydrogen ions in the thylakoid space to generate ATP energy and the hydrogen ions flow back into the stroma.
Thylakoids are of two types - granal thylakoids and stromal thylakoids. Granal thylakoids are arranged in the grana are pancake shaped circular discs, which are about 300-600 nanometers in diameter. The stromal thylakoids are in contact with the stroma and are in the form of helicoid sheets.
The granal thylakoids contain only photosystem II protein complex, this allows them to stack tightly and form many granal layers wiht granal membrane. This structure increases stability and surface area for the capture of light.
The photosystem I and ATP synthase protein complexes are present in the stroma. These protein complexes acts as spacers between the sheets of stromal thylakoids.
Chloroplast, structure within the cells of plants and green algae that is the site of photosynthesis, the process by which light energy is converted to chemical energy, resulting in the production of oxygen and energy-rich organic compounds. Photosynthetic cyanobacteria are free-living close relatives of chloroplasts; endosymbiotic theory posits that chloroplasts and mitochondria (energy-producing organelles in eukaryotic cells) are descended from such organisms.
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photosynthesis: Chloroplasts, the photosynthetic units of green plants
The process of plant photosynthesis takes place entirely within the chloroplasts. Detailed studies of the role of these organelles date from the work of British biochemist Robert Hill. About 1940 Hill discovered that green particles obtained from broken…READ MORE
Characteristics of chloroplasts
Chloroplasts are a type of plastid—a round, oval, or disk-shaped body that is involved in the synthesis and storage of foodstuffs. Chloroplasts are distinguished from other types of plastids by their green colour, which results from the presence of two pigments, chlorophylla and chlorophyll b. A function of those pigments is to absorb light energy. In plants, chloroplasts occur in all green tissues, though they are concentrated particularly in the parenchyma cells of the leaf mesophyll.
Chloroplasts are roughly 1–2 μm (1 μm = 0.001 mm) thick and 5–7 μm in diameter. They are enclosed in a chloroplast envelope, which consists of a double membrane with outer and inner layers, between which is a gap called the intermembrane space. A third, internal membrane, extensively folded and characterized by the presence of closed disks (or thylakoids), is known as the thylakoid membrane. In most higher plants, the thylakoids are arranged in tight stacks called grana (singular granum). Grana are connected by stromal lamellae, extensions that run from one granum, through the stroma, into a neighbouring granum. The thylakoid membrane envelops a central aqueous region known as the thylakoid lumen. The space between the inner membrane and the thylakoid membrane is filled with stroma, a matrix containing dissolved enzymes, starch granules, and copies of the chloroplast genome.
The photosynthetic machinery
The thylakoid membrane houses chlorophylls and different protein complexes, including photosystem I, photosystem II, and ATP (adenosine triphosphate) synthase, which are specialized for light-dependent photosynthesis. When sunlight strikes the thylakoids, the light energy excites chlorophyll pigments, causing them to give up electrons. The electrons then enter the electron transport chain, a series of reactions that ultimately drives the phosphorylation of adenosine diphosphate (ADP) to the energy-rich storage compound ATP. Electron transport also results in the production of the reducing agent nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH).
ATP and NADPH are used in the light-independent reactions (dark reactions) of photosynthesis, in which carbon dioxide and water are assimilated into organic compounds. The light-independent reactions of photosynthesis are carried out in the chloroplast stroma, which contains the enzyme ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (rubisco). Rubisco catalyzes the first step of carbon fixation in the Calvin cycle (also called Calvin-Benson cycle), the primary pathway of carbon transport in plants. Among so-called C4 plants, the initial carbon fixation step and the Calvin cycle are separated spatially—carbon fixation occurs via phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP) carboxylation in chloroplasts located in the mesophyll, while malate, the four-carbon product of that process, is transported to chloroplasts in bundle-sheath cells, where the Calvin cycle is carried out. C4 photosynthesis attempts to minimize the loss of carbon dioxide to photorespiration. In plants that use crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM), PEP carboxylation and the Calvin cycle are separated temporally in chloroplasts, the former taking place at night and the latter during the day. The CAM pathway allows plants to carry out photosynthesis with minimal water loss.
Chloroplast genome and membrane transport
The chloroplast genome typically is circular (though linear forms have also been observed) and is roughly 120–200 kilobases in length. The modern chloroplast genome, however, is much reduced in size: over the course of evolution, increasing numbers of chloroplast genes have been transferred to the genome in the cellnucleus. As a result, proteins encoded by nuclear DNA have become essential to chloroplast function. Hence, the outer membrane of the chloroplast, which is freely permeable to small molecules, also contains transmembrane channels for the import of larger molecules, including nuclear-encoded proteins. The inner membrane is more restrictive, with transport limited to certain proteins (e.g., nuclear-encoded proteins) that are targeted for passage through transmembrane channels.