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Plant Cell Physiol. 2002 Sep;43(9):1017-26.

Physiological functions of the water-water cycle (Mehler reaction) and the cyclic electron flow around PSI in rice leaves.

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  • 1Graduate School of Agricultural Sciences, Tohoku University, Tsutsumidori-Amamiyamachi, Aoba-ku, Sendai, 981-8555 Japan.


Changes in chlorophyll fluorescence, P700(+)-absorbance and gas exchange during the induction phase and steady state of photosynthesis were simultaneously examined in rice (Oryza sativa L.), including the rbcS antisense plants. The quantum yield of photosystem II (PhiPSII) increased more rapidly than CO(2) assimilation in 20% O(2). This rapid increase in PhiPSII resulted from the electron flux through the water-water cycle (WWC) because of its dependency on O(2). The electron flux of WWC reached a maximum just after illumination, and rapidly generated non-photochemical quenching (NPQ). With increasing CO(2) assimilation, the electron flux of WWC and NPQ decreased. In 2% O(2), WWC scarcely operated and PhiPSI was always higher than PhiPSII. This suggested that cyclic electron flow around PSI resulted in the formation of NPQ, which remained at higher levels in 2% O(2). The electron flux of WWC in the rbcS antisense plants was lower, but these plants always showed a higher NPQ. This was also caused by the operation of the cyclic electron flow around PSI because of a higher ratio of PhiPSI/PhiPSII, irrespective of O(2) concentration. The results indicate that WWC functions as a starter of photosynthesis by generating DeltapH across thylakoid membranes for NPQ formation, supplying ATP for carbon assimilation. However, WWC does not act to maintain a high NPQ, and PhiPSII is down-regulated by DeltapH generated via the cyclic electron flow around PSI.

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