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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2005 Aug 15;1709(1):69-83.

Modulation of photosynthetic electron transport in the absence of terminal electron acceptors: characterization of the rbcL deletion mutant of tobacco.

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Department of Biology, Plant Physiology and Molecular Biology, Turku University, FIN-20014 Turku, Finland.


Tobacco rbcL deletion mutant, which lacks the key enzyme Rubisco for photosynthetic carbon assimilation, was characterized with respect to thylakoid functional properties and protein composition. The Delta rbcL plants showed an enhanced capacity for dissipation of light energy by non-photochemical quenching which was accompanied by low photochemical quenching and low overall photosynthetic electron transport rate. Flash-induced fluorescence relaxation and thermoluminescence measurements revealed a slow electron transfer and decreased redox gap between Q(A) and Q(B), whereas the donor side function of the Photosystem II (PSII) complex was not affected. The 77 K fluorescence emission spectrum of Delta rbcL plant thylakoids implied a presence of free light harvesting complexes. Mutant plants also had a low amount of photooxidisible P700 and an increased ratio of PSII to Photosystem I (PSI). On the other hand, an elevated level of plastid terminal oxidase and the lack of F0 'dark rise' in fluorescence measurements suggest an enhanced plastid terminal oxidase-mediated electron flow to O2 in Delta rbcL thylakoids. Modified electron transfer routes together with flexible dissipation of excitation energy through PSII probably have a crucial role in protection of PSI from irreversible protein damage in the Delta rbcL mutant under growth conditions. This protective capacity was rapidly exceeded in Delta rbcL mutant when the light level was elevated resulting in severe degradation of PSI complexes.

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