Two fractions of thylakoid membranes (TMF) have been isolated from disrupted (French press) algal cells by using a discontinuous sucrose gradient. TMF-II consists mostly of thylakoid membranes still partially organized in grana; it contains also fragments of chloroplast envelope, pyrenoid tubules, and starch granules; thus it amounts to a fraction of chloroplast fragments which have lost practically all matrix components. TMF-I consists of smaller chloroplast fragments and is contaminated to a larger extent than TMF-II by other subcellular components, primarily mitochondria. TMF-II accounts for about 12% of the protein and 30% of the chlorophyll of the whole cell; it contains cytochrome 554 and carotenoids in the same ratio to chlorophyll as the latter, and shows photosystems I and II activities but lacks enzymatic activities characteristic of the dark reactions. During the greening of the y-1 mutant of Chlamydomonas, TMF's have been isolated over a range of chlorophyll concentrations from 5 to 25 µg/107 cells. The results showed that during this period the ratios of chlorophyll to cytochrome 554 and of chlorophyll to carotenoids, and the relative concentrations of individual carotenoids were continuously changing. The findings support the view that during greening, thylakoid membranes are produced by multistep assembly.

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