Wild-type chloroplast membranes from Chlamydomonas reinhardi exhibit four faces in freeze-etchreplicas: the complementary Bs and Cs faces are found where the membranes are stacked together; the complementary Bu and Cu faces are found in unstacked membranes. The Bs face carries a dense population of regularly spaced particles containing the large, 160 ± 10 A particles that appear to be unique to chloroplast membranes. Under certain growth conditions, membrane stacking does not occur in the ac-5 strain. When isolated, these membranes remain unstacked, exhibit only Bu and Cu faces, and retain the ability to carry out normal photosynthesis. Membrane stacking is also absent in the ac-31 strain, and, when isolated in a low-salt medium, these membranes remain unstacked and exhibit only Bu and Cu faces. When isolated in a high-salt medium, however, they stack normally, and Bs and Cs faces are produced by this in vitro stacking process. We conclude that certain particle distributions in the chloroplast membrane are created as a consequence of the stacking process, and that the ability of membranes to stack can be modified both by gene mutation and by the ionic environment in which the membranes are found.

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