Intact chloroplasts, purified from spinach leaves by sedimentation in density gradients of colloidal silica, incorporate labeled amino acids into at least 16 different polypeptides of the thylakoid membranes, using light as the only source of energy. The thylakoid products of chloroplast translation were visualized by subjecting membranes purified from chloroplasts labeled with [35S]methionine to electrophoresis in high-resolution, SDS-containing acrylamide gradient slab gels and autoradiography. The apparent mol wt of the labeled products ranged from less than 10,000 to greater than 70,000. One of the labeled products is the apoprotein of the P700-chlorophyll a-protein (CPI). The CPI apoprotein is assembled into a pigment-protein complex which is electrophoretically indistinguishable from the native CPI complex. Isolated spinach chloroplasts also incorporate [3H]leucine and [35S]methionine into cytochrome b559. The radioactive label remains with the cytochrome through all stages of purification: extraction of the thylakoid membranes with Triton X-100 and urea, adsorption of impurities on DEAE cellulose, two cycles of electrophoresis in Triton-containing polyacrylamide gels and electrophoresis in SDS-containing gradient gels. Cytochrome b559 becomes labeled with both [3H]leucine and [35S]methionine and accounts for somewhat less than 1% of the total isotopic incorporation into thylakoid protein. The lipoprotein appears to be fully assembled during the time-course of our labeling experiments.

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