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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1999 Mar 9;1410(3):248-61.

Proton to electron stoichiometry in electron transport of spinach thylakoids

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Lehrstuhl Biochemie der Pflanzen, Ruhr-Universitat Bochum, D-44780, Bochum, Germany.


According to the concept of the Q-cycle, the H+/e- ratio of the electron transport chain of thylakoids can be raised from 2 to 3 by means of the rereduction of plastoquinone across the cytochrome b6f complex. In order to investigate the H+/e- ratio we compared stationary rates of electron transport and proton translocation in spinach thylakoids both in the presence of the artificial electron acceptor ferricyanide and in the presence of the natural acceptor system ferredoxin+NADP. The results may be summarised as follows: (1) a variability of the H+/e- ratio occurs with either acceptor. H+/e- ratios of 3 (or even higher in the case of the natural acceptor system, see below) are decreased towards 2 if strong light intensity and low membrane permeability are employed. Mechanistically this could be explained by proton channels connecting the plastoquinol binding site alternatively to the lumenal or stromal side of the cytochrome b6f complex, giving rise to a proton slip reaction at high transmembrane DeltapH. In this slip reaction protons are deposited on the stromal instead of the lumenal side. In addition to the pH effect there seems to be a contribution of the redox state of the plastoquinone pool to the control of proton translocation; switching over to stromal proton deposition is favoured when the reduced state of plastoquinone becomes dominant. (2) In the presence of NADP a competition of both NADP and oxygen for the electrons supplied by photosystem I takes place, inducing a general increase of the H+/e- ratios above the values obtained with ferricyanide. The implications with respect to the adjustment of a proper ATP/NADPH ratio for CO2 reduction are discussed.

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