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Three-dimensional electron diffraction of plant light-harvesting complex

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Electron diffraction patterns of two-dimensional crystals of light-harvesting chlorophyll a/b-protein complex (LHC-II) from photosynthetic membranes of pea chloroplasts, tilted at different angles up to 60°, were collected to 3.2 Å resolution at -125°C. The reflection intensities were merged into a three-dimensional data set. The Friedel R-factor and the merging R-factor were 21.8 and 27.6%, respectively. Specimen flatness and crystal size were critical for recording electron diffraction patterns from crystals at high tilts. The principal sources of experimental error were attributed to limitations of the number of unit cells contributing to an electron diffraction pattern, and to the critical electron dose. The distribution of strong diffraction spots indicated that the three-dimensional structure of LHC-II is less regular than that of other known membrane proteins and is not dominated by a particular feature of secondary structure.

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