The biosynthesis of chlorophyll, an essential cofactor for photosynthesis, requires the ATP-dependent insertion of Mg(2+) into protoporphyrin IX catalyzed by the multisubunit enzyme magnesium chelatase. This enzyme complex consists of the I subunit, an ATPase that forms a complex with the D subunit, and an H subunit that binds both the protoporphyrin substrate and the magnesium protoporphyrin product. In this study we used electron microscopy and small-angle x-ray scattering to investigate the structure of the magnesium chelatase H subunit, ChlH, from the thermophilic cyanobacterium Thermosynechococcus elongatus. Single particle reconstruction of negatively stained apo-ChlH and Chl-porphyrin proteins was used to reconstitute three-dimensional structures to a resolution of ∼30 Å. ChlH is a large, 148-kDa protein of 1326 residues, forming a cage-like assembly comprising the majority of the structure, attached to a globular N-terminal domain of ∼16 kDa by a narrow linker region. This N-terminal domain is adjacent to a 5 nm-diameter opening in the structure that allows access to a cavity. Small-angle x-ray scattering analysis of ChlH, performed on soluble, catalytically active ChlH, verifies the presence of two domains and their relative sizes. Our results provide a basis for the multiple regulatory and catalytic functions of ChlH of oxygenic photosynthetic organisms and for a chaperoning function that sequesters the enzyme-bound magnesium protoporphyrin product prior to its delivery to the next enzyme in the chlorophyll biosynthetic pathway, magnesium protoporphyrin methyltransferase.