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QE-type Photoprotective Energy Dissipation without PsbS

QE-type Photoprotective Energy Dissipation without PsbS

Variations in the light environment require higher plants to regulate the light harvesting process. Under high light a mechanism known as non-photochemical quenching (NPQ) is triggered to dissipate excess absorbed light energy within the photosystem II (PSII) antenna as heat, preventing photodamage to the reaction center. The major component of NPQ, known as qE, is rapidly reversible in the dark and dependent upon the transmembrane proton gradient (?pH), formed as a result of photosynthetic electron transport. Using diaminodurene and phenazine metasulfate, mediators of cyclic electron flow around photosystem I, to enhance ?pH, it is demonstrated that rapidly reversible qE-type quenching can be observed in intact chloroplasts from Arabidopsis plants lacking the PsbS protein, previously believed to be indispensible for the process. The qE in chloroplasts lacking PsbS significantly quenched the level of fluorescence when all PSII reaction centers were in the open state (Fo state), protected PSII reaction centers from photoinhibition, was modulated by zeaxanthin and was accompanied by the qE-typical absorption spectral changes, known as ?A535. Titrations of the ?pH dependence of qE in the absence of PsbS reveal that this protein affects the cooperativity and sensitivity of the photoprotective process to protons. The roles of PsbS and zeaxanthin are discussed in light of their involvement in the control of the proton-antenna association constant, pK, via regulation of the interconnected phenomena of PSII antenna reorganization/aggregation and hydrophobicity.

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