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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1991 Sep 15;88(18):8262-6.

Lateral redistribution of cytochrome b6/f complexes along thylakoid membranes upon state transitions.

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  • 1Institut Jacques Monod, Paris, France.


The cytochrome b6/f complex operates in photosynthetic electron transfer either in linear electron flow from photosystem II to photosystem I or in cyclic flow around photosystem I. Using membrane fractionation and immunocytochemistry, we show a change in lateral distribution of cytochrome b6/f complexes along the thylakoid membranes during state transitions. This change is seen in maize as well as in the green algae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. When either of the two organisms were adapted to state II in vivo, the proportion of cytochrome b6/f complexes found in the photosystem I-enriched stroma lamellae regions was significantly larger than after adaptation to state I. A similar observation was made upon state I to state II transitions done in vitro by illuminating, in the presence of ATP, broken maize chloroplasts prepared from dark-adapted leaves. This reorganization of the electron-transfer chain is concurrent with the change in light-energy distribution between the two photosystems, which requires lateral displacement of light-harvesting complex II. That the changes in lateral distribution of both cytochrome b6/f and light-harvesting II complexes seen upon state transition in vitro similarly required addition of exogenous ATP, suggests that the change in cytochrome b6/f organization also depends on kinase activity. The increased concentration of cytochrome b6/f complexes in the vicinity of photosystem I in state II is discussed in terms of an increase in cyclic electron flow, thus favoring ATP production. Because transition to state II can be triggered in vivo by ATP depletion, we conclude that state transitions should be regarded not only as a light-adaptation mechanism but also as a rerouting of photosynthetic electron flow, enabling photosynthetic organisms to adapt to changes in the cell demand for ATP.

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