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J Biol Chem. 2011 Jan 7;286(1):50-9. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.161562. Epub 2010 Oct 21.

FdC1, a novel ferredoxin protein capable of alternative electron partitioning, increases in conditions of acceptor limitation at photosystem I.

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Department of Plant Physiology, University of Osnabrück, Barbara Strasse 11, 49076 Osnabrück, Germany.


In higher plants, [2Fe-2S] ferredoxin (Fd) proteins are the unique electron acceptors from photosystem I (PSI). Fds are soluble, and distribute electrons to many enzymes, including Fd:NADP(H) reductase (FNR), for the photoreduction of NADP(+). In addition to well studied [2Fe-2S] Fd proteins, higher plants also possess genes for significantly different, as yet uncharacterized Fd proteins, with extended C termini (FdCs). Whether these FdC proteins function as photosynthetic electron transfer proteins is not known. We examined whether these proteins play a role as alternative electron acceptors at PSI, using quantitative RT-PCR to follow how their expression changes in response to acceptor limitation at PSI, in mutant Arabidopsis plants lacking 90-95% of photosynthetic [2Fe-2S] Fd. Expression of the gene encoding one FdC protein, FdC1, was identified as being strongly up-regulated. We confirmed that this protein was chloroplast localized and increased in abundance on PSI acceptor limitation. We purified the recombinant FdC1 protein, which exhibited a UV-visible spectrum consistent with a [2Fe-2S] cluster, confirmed by EPR analysis. Measurements of electron transfer show that FdC1 is capable of accepting electrons from PSI, but cannot support photoreduction of NADP(+). Whereas FdC1 was capable of electron transfer with FNR, redox potentiometry showed that it had a more positive redox potential than photosynthetic Fds by around 220 mV. These results indicate that FdC1 electron donation to FNR is prevented because it is thermodynamically unfavorable. Based on our data, we speculate that FdC1 has a specific function in conditions of acceptor limitation at PSI, and channels electrons away from NADP(+) photoreduction.

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