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Keywords:

  • chloroplast;
  • FQR;
  • NADH dehydrogenase;
  • PGR5;
  • photosystem;
  • PTOX

ABSTRACT

Besides major photosynthetic complexes of oxygenic photosynthesis, new electron carriers have been identified in thylakoid membranes of higher plant chloroplasts. These minor components, located in the stroma lamellae, include a plastidial NAD(P)H dehydrogenase (NDH) complex and a plastid terminal plastoquinone oxidase (PTOX). The NDH complex, by reducing plastoquinones (PQs), participates in one of the two electron transfer pathways operating around photosystem I (PSI), the other likely involving a still uncharacterized ferredoxin-plastoquinone reductase (FQR) and the newly discovered PGR5. The existence of a complex network of mechanisms regulating expression and activity of the NDH complex, and the presence of higher amounts of NDH complex and PTOX in response to environmental stress conditions the phenotype of mutants, indicate that these components likely play a role in the acclimation of photosynthesis to changing environmental conditions. Based on recently published data, we propose that the NDH-dependent cyclic pathway around PSI participates to the ATP supply in conditions of high ATP demand (such as high temperature or water limitation) and together with PTOX regulates cyclic electron transfer activity by tuning the redox state of intersystem electron carriers. In response to severe stress conditions, PTOX associated to the NDH and/or the PGR5 pathway may also limit electron pressure on PSI acceptor and prevent PSI photoinhibition.