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

A mechanism of nonphotochemical energy dissipation, independent from PsbS, revealed by a conformational change in the antenna protein CP26.

The regulation of light harvesting in higher plant photosynthesis, defined as stress-dependent modulation of the ratio of energy transfer to the reaction centers versus heat dissipation, was studied by means of carotenoid biosynthesis mutants and recombinant light harvesting complexes (LHCs) with modified chromophore binding. The npq2 mutant of Arabidopsis thaliana, blocked in the biosynthesis of violaxanthin and thus accumulating zeaxanthin, was shown to have a lower fluorescence yield of chlorophyll in vivo and, correspondingly, a higher level of energy dissipation, with respect to the wild-type strain and npq1 mutant, the latter of which is incapable of zeaxanthin accumulation. Experiments on purified thylakoid membranes from all three mutants showed that the major source of the difference between the npq2 and wild-type preparations was a change in pigment to protein interactions, which can explain the lower chlorophyll fluorescence yield in the npq2 samples. Analysis of the xanthophyll binding LHC proteins showed that the Lhcb5 photosystem II subunit (also called CP26) undergoes a change in its pI upon binding of zeaxanthin. The same effect was observed in wild-type CP26 upon treatment that leads to the accumulation of zeaxanthin in the membrane and was interpreted as the consequence of a conformational change. This hypothesis was confirmed by the analysis of two recombinant proteins obtained by overexpression of the Lhcb5 apoprotein in Escherichia coli and reconstitution in vitro with either violaxanthin or zeaxanthin. The V and Z containing pigment-protein complexes obtained by this procedure showed different pIs and high and low fluorescence yields, respectively. These results confirm that LHC proteins exist in multiple conformations, an idea suggested by previous spectroscopic measurements (Moya et al., 2001), and imply that the switch between the different LHC protein conformations is activated by the binding of zeaxanthin to the allosteric site L2. The results suggest that the quenching process induced by the accumulation of zeaxanthin contributes to qI, a component of NPQ whose origin was previously poorly understood.[1]


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