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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Oct 1990; 87(19): 7502–7506.

Adjustments of photosystem stoichiometry in chloroplasts improve the quantum efficiency of photosynthesis.


The efficiency of photosynthetic electron transport depends on the coordinated interaction of photosystem II (PSII) and photosystem I (PSI) in the electron-transport chain. Each photosystem contains distinct pigment-protein complexes that harvest light from different regions of the visible spectrum. The light energy is utilized in an endergonic electron-transport reaction at each photosystem. Recent evidence has shown a large variability in the PSII/PSI stoichiometry in plants grown under different environmental irradiance conditions. Results in this work are consistent with the notion of a dynamic, rather than static, thylakoid membrane in which the stoichiometry of the two photosystems is adjusted and optimized in response to different light quality conditions. Direct evidence is provided that photosystem stoichiometry adjustments in chloroplasts are a compensation strategy designed to correct unbalanced absorption of light by the two photosystems. Such adjustments allow the plant to maintain a high quantum efficiency of photosynthesis under diverse light quality conditions and constitute acclimation that confers to plants a significant evolutionary advantage over that of a fixed photosystem stoichiometry in thylakoid membranes.

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Selected References

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