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FEBS J. 2008 Mar;275(6):1069-79. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-4658.2008.06263.x.

Photosynthetic acclimation: does the dynamic structure and macro-organisation of photosystem II in higher plant grana membranes regulate light harvesting states?

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Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield, UK.


The efficiency of light harvesting in higher plant photosynthesis is regulated in response to external environmental conditions. Under conditions of excess light, the normally highly efficient light-harvesting system of photosystem II is switched into a state in which unwanted, potentially harmful, energy is dissipated as heat. This process, known as nonphotochemical quenching, occurs by the creation of energy quenchers following conformational change in the light-harvesting complexes, which is initiated by the build up of the thylakoid pH gradient and controlled by the xanthophyll cycle. In the present study, the evidence to support the notion that this regulatory mechanism is dependent upon the organization of the different antenna subunits in the stacked grana membranes is reviewed. We postulate that nonphotochemical quenching occurs within a structural locus comprising the PsbS subunit and components of the light-harvesting antenna, CP26, CP24, CP29 and LHCIIb (the major trimeric light-harvesting complex), formed in response to protonation and controlled by the xanthophyll cycle carotenoids.

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