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Plant J. 1999 Mar;17(6):689-98.

The interaction between plastocyanin and photosystem I is inefficient in transgenic Arabidopsis plants lacking the PSI-N subunit of photosystem I.

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  • 1Department of Plant Biology, Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Frederiksberg, Copenhagen, Denmark.


The PSI-N subunit of photosystem I (PSI) is restricted to higher plants and is the only subunit located entirely in the thylakoid lumen. The role of the PSI-N subunit in the PSI complex was investigated in transgenic Arabidopsis plants which were generated using antisense and co-suppression strategies. Several lines without detectable levels of PSI-N were identified. The plants lacking PSI-N assembled a functional PSI complex and were capable of photoautotrophic growth. When grown on agar media for several weeks the plants became chlorotic and developed significantly more slowly. However, under optimal growth conditions, the plants without PSI-N were visually indistinguishable from the wild-type although several photosynthetic parameters were affected. In the transformants, the second-order rate constant for electron transfer from plastocyanin to P700+, the oxidized reaction centre of PSI, was only 55% of the wild-type value, and steady-state NADP+ reduction was decreased to a similar extent. Quantum yield of oxygen evolution and PSII photochemistry were about 10% lower than in the wild-type at leaf level. Photochemical fluorescence quenching was lowered to a similar extent. Thus, the 40-50% lower activity of PSI at the molecular level was much less significant at the whole-plant level. This was partly explained by a 17% increase in PSI content in the plants lacking PSI-N.

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