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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2000 Jul 20;1459(1):148-68.

Control of the photosynthetic electron transport by PQ diffusion microdomains in thylakoids of higher plants.

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Institut für Botanik, Münster, Germany.


We investigate the role of plastoquinone (PQ) diffusion in the control of the photosynthetic electron transport. A control analysis reveals an unexpected flux control of the whole chain electron transport by photosystem (PS) II. The contribution of PSII to the flux control of whole chain electron transport was high in stacked thylakoids (control coefficient, CJ(PSII) =0.85), but decreased after destacking (CJ(PSII)=0.25). From an 'electron storage' experiment, we conclude that in stacked thylakoids only about 50 to 60% of photoreducable PQ is involved in the light-saturated linear electron transport. No redox equilibration throughout the membrane between fixed redox groups at PSII and cytochrome (cyt) bf complexes, and the diffusable carrier PQ is achieved. The data support the PQ diffusion microdomain concept by Lavergne et al. [J. Lavergne, J.-P. Bouchaud, P. Joliot, Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1101 (1992) 13-22], but we come to different conclusions about size, structure and size distribution of domains. From an analysis of cyt b6 reduction, as a function of PSII inhibition, we conclude that in stacked thylakoids about 70% of PSII is located in small domains, where only 1 to 2 PSII share a local pool of a few PQ molecules. Thirty percent of PSII is located in larger domains. No small domains were found in destacked thylakoids. We present a structural model assuming a hierarchy of specific, strong and weak interactions between PSII core, light harvesting complexes (LHC) II and cyt bf. Peripheral LHCII's may serve to connect PSII-LHCII supercomplexes to a flexible protein network, by which small closed lipid diffusion compartments are formed. Within each domain, PQ moves rapidly and shuttles electrons between PSII and cyt bf complexes in the close vicinity. At the same time, long range diffusion is slow. We conclude, that in high light, cyt bfcomplexes located in distant stromal lamellae (20 to 30%) are not involved in the linear electron transport.

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