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Plant Physiol. 1993 Sep;103(1):181-189.

Photosystem II Reaction Center Damage and Repair in Dunaliella salina (Green Alga) (Analysis under Physiological and Irradiance-Stress Conditions).

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  • 1Department of Plant Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720.


Mechanistic aspects of the photosystem II (PSII) damage and repair cycle in chloroplasts were investigated. The D1/32-kD reaction center protein of PSII (known as the psbA chloroplast gene product) undergoes a frequent light-dependent damage and turnover in the thylakoid membrane. In the model organism Dunaliella salina (green alga), growth under a limiting intensity of illumination (100 [mu]mol of photons m-2 s-1; low light) entails damage, degradation, and replacement of D1 every about 7 h. Growth under irradiance-stress conditions (2000 [mu]mol of photons m-2 s-1; high light) entails damage to and replacement of D1 about every 20 min. Thus, the rate of damage and repair of PSII appears to be proportional to the light intensity during plant growth. Low-light-grown cells do not possess the capacity for high rates of repair. Upon transfer of low-light-grown cells to high-light conditions, accelerated damage to reaction center proteins is followed by PSII disassembly and aggregation of neighboring reaction center complexes into an insoluble dimer form. The accumulation of inactive PSII centers that still contain the D1 protein suggests that the rate of D1 degradation is the rate-limiting step in the PSII repair cycle. Under irradiance-stress conditions, chloroplasts gradually acquire a greater capacity for repair. The induction of this phenomenon occurs with a half-time of about 24 h.

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