A novel polypeptide with an apparent molecular mass of 9 kDa was detected after sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of Arabidopsis photosystem I (PSI) and was N-terminally sequenced. Corresponding cDNA clones encode a precursor protein of 140 amino acid residues which was imported into isolated intact chloroplasts and processed to the mature protein, designated PSI-O. The mature protein has two transmembrane helices and a calculated mass of 10104 Da. The PSI-O protein was also shown to be present in PSI isolated from barley and spinach, and was essentially absent in chloroplast grana. Expressed sequences encoding similar proteins are available from many species of plants and green algae.