Four amino acids in the major light-harvesting chlorophyll (Chl) a/b complex (LHCII) that are thought to coordinate Chl molecules have been exchanged with amino acids that presumably cannot bind Chl. Amino acids H68, Q131, Q197, and H212 are positioned in helixes B, C, A, and D, respectively, and, according to the LHCII crystal structure [Kühlbrandt, W., et al. (1994) Nature 367, 614-621], coordinate the Chl molecules named a(5), b(6), a(3), and b(3). Moreover, a double mutant was analyzed carrying exchanges at positions E65 and H68, presumably affecting Chls a(4) and a(5). All mutant proteins could be reconstituted in vitro with pigments, although the thermal stability of the resulting mutant versions of recombinant LHCII varied significantly. All complexes reconstituted with the mutant proteins contained fewer chlorophyll molecules per two lutein molecules than complexes reconstituted with the wild-type protein. However, the chlorophyll-binding amino acids could not be unambiguously assigned to binding either chlorophyll a or b, as in most cases more than one chlorophyll molecule was lost due to the mutation. The changes in Chl stoichiometries suggest that in LHCII some chlorophyll positions can be filled with either Chl a or b. Only some of the point mutations in LHCII affected the ability of the apoprotein to assemble into trimeric LHCII upon insertion into isolated thylakoid membranes. Among these were exchanges of H68 with either F or L, suggesting that the stability of the LHCII trimer significantly depends on this amino acid or the Chl molecule named a(5) that is attached to it and is located close to the center of the trimeric complex. The ion pair bridge between E65 and R185 in LHCII does not appear to be essential for the proper folding of the protein.