Substrate channeling between the enzymatic steps in the (bacterio)chlorophyll biosynthetic pathway catalyzed by magnesium chelatase (BchI/ChlI, BchD/ChlD and BchH/ChlH subunits) and S-adenosyl-l-methionine:magnesium-protoporphyrin IX O-methyltransferase (BchM/ChlM) has been suggested. This involves delivery of magnesium-protoporphyrin IX from the BchH/ChlH subunit of magnesium chelatase to BchM/ChlM. Stimulation of BchM/ChlM activity by BchH/ChlH has previously been shown, and physical interaction of the two proteins has been demonstrated. In plants and cyanobacteria, there is an added layer of complexity, as Gun4 serves as a porphyrin (protoporphyrin IX and magnesium-protoporphyrin IX) carrier, but this protein does not exist in anoxygenic photosynthetic bacteria. BchJ may play a similar role to Gun4 in Rhodobacter, as it has no currently assigned function in the established pathway. Purified recombinant Rhodobacter capsulatus BchJ and BchM were found to cause a shift in the equilibrium amount of Mg-protoporphyrin IX formed in a magnesium chelatase assay. Analysis of this shift revealed that it was always in a 1 1 ratio with either of these proteins and the BchH subunit of the magnesium chelatase. The establishment of the new equilibrium was faster with BchM than with BchJ in a coupled magnesium chelatase assay. BchJ bound magnesium-protoporphyrin IX or formed a ternary complex with BchH and magnesium-protoporphyrin IX. These results suggest that BchJ may play a role as a general magnesium porphyrin carrier, similar to one of the roles of GUN4 in oxygenic organisms.