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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Xanthophyll cycle-dependent quenching of photosystem II chlorophyll a fluorescence: formation of a quenching complex with a short fluorescence lifetime.

Excess light triggers protective nonradiative dissipation of excitation energy in photosystem II through the formation of a trans-thylakoid pH gradient that in turn stimulates formation of zeaxanthin and antheraxanthin. These xanthophylls when combined with protonation of antenna pigment-protein complexes may increase nonradiative dissipation and, thus, quench chlorophyll a fluorescence. Here we measured, in parallel, the chlorophyll a fluorescence lifetime and intensity to understand the mechanism of this process. Increasing the xanthophyll concentration in the presence of a pH gradient (quenched conditions) decreases the fractional intensity of a fluorescence lifetime component centered at approximately 2 ns and increases a component at approximately 0.4 ns. Uncoupling the pH gradient (unquenched conditions) eliminates the 0.4-ns component. Changes in the xanthophyll concentration do not significantly affect the fluorescence lifetimes in either the quenched or unquenched sample conditions. However, there are differences in fluorescence lifetimes between the quenched and unquenched states that are due to pH-related, but nonxanthophyll-related, processes. Quenching of the maximal fluorescence intensity correlates with both the xanthophyll concentration and the fractional intensity of the 0.4-ns component. The unchanged fluorescence lifetimes and the proportional quenching of the maximal and dark-level fluorescence intensities indicate that the xanthophylls act on antenna, not reaction center processes. Further, the fluorescence quenching is interpreted as the combined effect of the pH gradient and xanthophyll concentration, resulting in the formation of a quenching complex with a short (approximately 0.4 ns) fluorescence lifetime.[1]


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