Synechocystis 6701 phycobilisomes contain phycoerythrin, phycocyanin, and allophycocyanin in a molar ratio of approximately 2:2:1, and other polypeptides of 99-, 46-, 33.5-, 31.5-, 30.5-, and 27-kdaltons. Wild-type phycobilisomes consist of a core of three cylindrical elements in an equilateral array surrounded by a fanlike array of six rods each made up of 3-4 stacked disks. Twelve nitrosoguanidine-induced mutants were isolated which produced phycobilisomes containing between 0 and 53% of the wild-type level of phycoerythrin and grossly altered levels of the 30.5- and 31.5-kdalton polypeptides. Assembly defects in these mutant particles were shown to be limited to the phycoerythrin portions of the rod substructures of the phycobilisome. Quantitative analysis of phycobilisomes from wild-type and mutant cells, grown either in white light or chromatically adapted to red light, indicated a molar ratio of the 30.5- and 31.5-kdalton polypeptides to phycoerythrin of 1:6, i.e., one 30.5- or one 31.5-kdaltons polypeptide per (alpha beta)6 phycoerythrin hexamer. Presence of the phycoerythrin-31.5-kdalton complex in phycobilisomes did not require the presence of the 30.5-kdalton polypeptide. The converse situation was not observed. These and earlier studies (R. C. Williams, J. C. Gingrich, and A. N. Glazer. 1980. J. Cell Biol. 85:558-566) show that the average rod in wild type Synechocystis 6701 phycobilisomes consists of four stacked disk-shaped complexes: phycocyanin (alpha beta)6-27 kdalton, phycocyanin (alpha beta)6-33.5 kdalton, phycoerythrin (alpha beta)6-31.5 kdalton, and phycoerythrin-30.5 kdalton, listed in order starting with the disk proximal to the core.

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