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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2006 May-Jun;1757(5-6):362-8. Epub 2006 May 15.

Cyclic electron flow in C3 plants.

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  • 1CNRS UMR 7141, Institut de Biologie Physico-Chimique, 13, rue Pierre-et-Marie Curie, 75005 Paris, France.


This paper summarized our present view on the mechanism of cyclic electron flow in C3 plants. We propose that cyclic and linear pathways are in competition for the reoxidation of the soluble primary PSI acceptor, Ferredoxin (Fd), that freely diffuses in the stromal compartment. In the linear mode, Fd binds ferredoxin-NADP-reductase and electrons are transferred to NADP+ and then to the Benson and Calvin cycle. In the cyclic mode, Fd binds a site localized on the stromal side of the cytochrome b6f complex and electrons are transferred to P700 via a mechanism derived from the Q-cycle. In dark-adapted leaves, the cyclic flow operates at maximum rate, owing to the partial inactivation of the Benson and Calvin cycle. For increasing time of illumination, the activation of the Benson and Calvin cycle, and thus, that of the linear flow, is associated with a subsequent decrease in the rate of the cyclic flow. Under steady-state conditions of illumination, the contribution of cyclic flow to PSI turnover increases as a function of the light intensity (from 0 to approximately 50% for weak to saturating light, respectively). Lack of CO2 is associated with an increase in the efficiency of the cyclic flow. ATP concentration could be one of the parameters that control the transition between linear and cyclic modes.

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