Photoautotrophic organisms, the major agent of inorganic carbon fixation into biomass, convert light energy into chemical energy. The first step of photosynthesis consists of the absorption of solar energy by pigments binding protein complexes named photosystems. Within photosystems, a family of proteins called Light Harvesting Complexes (LHC), responsible for light harvesting and energy transfer to reaction centers, has evolved along with eukaryotic organisms. Besides light absorption, these proteins catalyze photoprotective reactions which allowed functioning of oxygenic photosynthetic machinery in the increasingly oxidant environment. In this work we review current knowledge of LHC proteins serving Photosystem II. Balance between light harvesting and photoprotection is critical in Photosystem II, due to the lower quantum efficiency as compared to Photosystem I. In particular, we focus on the role of each antenna complex in light harvesting, energy transfer, scavenging of reactive oxygen species, chlorophyll triplet quenching and thermal dissipation of excess energy. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Photosystem II.
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