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Physiol Plant. 2011 May;142(1):56-64. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3054.2010.01437.x.

Photoinhibition of photosystem I.

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Faculty of Education and Integrated Arts and Sciences, Waseda University, 2-2 Wakamatsu-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-8480, Japan.


The photoinhibition of Photosystem I (PSI) drew less attention compared with that of Photosystem II (PSII). This could be ascribed to several reasons, e.g. limited combinations of plant species and environmental conditions that cause PSI photoinhibition, the non-regulatory aspect of PSI photoinhibition, and methodological difficulty to determine the accurate activity of PSI under stress conditions. However, the photoinhibition of PSI could be more dangerous than that of PSII because of the very slow recovery rate of PSI. This article is intended to introduce such characteristics of PSI photoinhibition with special emphasis on the relationship between two photosystems as well as the protective mechanism of PSI in vivo. Although the photoinhibition of PSI could be induced only in specific conditions and specific plant species in intact leaves, PSI itself is quite susceptible to photoinhibition in isolated thylakoid membranes. PSI seems to be well protected from photoinhibition in vivo in many plant species and many environmental conditions. This is quite understandable because photoinhibition of PSI is not only irreversible but also the potential cause of many secondary damages. This point would be different from the case of PSII photoinhibition, which could be regarded as one of the regulatory mechanisms under stressed as well as non-stressed conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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