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Physiol Plant. 2011 Feb;141(2):188-96. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3054.2010.01421.x. Epub 2010 Nov 12.

Inactivation of the STT7 gene protects PsaF-deficient Chlamydomonas reinhardtii cells from oxidative stress under high light.

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Department of Biology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7V 1G2, Canada.


Photosystem I (PSI) utilizes light energy to excite electrons for the reduction of NADP(+) , and like photosystem II, it is sensitive to excess light. When PSI is excited and unable to be reduced by the electron transport chain, the special pair of chlorophyll molecules, P700(+) , will take electrons from neighboring sources leading to cellular damage. A Chlamydomonas reinhardtii mutant, which is defective in the production of the PsaF subunit of PSI, provides an ideal platform for studying the processes involved in protecting PSI from excess light. This strain dies following the exposure to high light (HL) because of photo-oxidative damage. We used a second-site suppressor screen to identify genes involved in protecting PsaF-deficient PSI from excess light. In doing so, we demonstrated that the absence of the STT7 protein, which is required for LHCII phosphorylation and the process of state transitions suppresses the psaF HL-lethal phenotype. On the basis of chlorophyll fluorescence measurements, the psaF mutant has a more reduced plastoquinone pool at a given photosynthetic photon flux density than the wild-type cells. Under these conditions the process of state transitions will become active, resulting in the transfer of phosphorylated LHCII proteins to PSI, further increasing the excitation of PSI. However, in the psaF stt7 double mutant, the LHCII proteins will not be transferred to PSI, and thus the level of PSI excitation will remain lower. This study provides clear genetic evidence that the HL-lethal phenotype of the psaF mutant is because of PSI overexciation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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