Localization of the mechanism of pH-dependent non- photochemical fluorescence quenching in thylakoid membranes
Wiebe, Scott Christopher.
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Higher plants have evolved a well-conserved set of photoprotective mechanisms, collectively designated Non-Photochemical Quenching of chlorophyll fluorescence (qN), to deal with the inhibitory absorption of excess light energy by the photosystems. Their main contribution originates from safe thermal deactivation of excited states promoted by a highly-energized thylakoid membrane, detected via lumen acidification. The precise origins of this energy- or LlpH-dependent quenching (qE), arising from either decreased energy transfer efficiency in PSII antennae (~ Young & Frank, 1996; Gilmore & Yamamoto, 1992; Ruban et aI., 1992), from alternative electron transfer pathways in PSII reaction centres (~ Schreiber & Neubauer, 1990; Thompson &Brudvig, 1988; Klimov et aI., 1977), or from both (Wagner et aI., 1996; Walters & Horton, 1993), are a source of considerable controversy. In this study, the origins of qE were investigated in spinach thylakoids using a combination of fluorescence spectroscopic techniques: Pulse Amplitude Modulated (PAM) fluorimetry, pump-probe fluorimetry for the measurement of PSII absorption crosssections, and picosecond fluorescence decay curves fit to a kinetic model for PSII. Quenching by qE (,..,600/0 of maximal fluorescence, Fm) was light-induced in circulating samples and the resulting pH gradient maintained during a dark delay by the lumenacidifying capabilities of thylakoid membrane H+ ATPases. Results for qE were compared to those for the addition of a known antenna quencher, 5-hydroxy-1,4naphthoquinone (5-0H-NQ), titrated to achieve the same degree of Fm quenching as for qE. Quenching of the minimal fluorescence yield, F0' was clear (8 to 130/0) during formation of qE, indicative of classical antenna quenching (Butler, 1984), although the degree was significantly less than that achieved by addition of 5-0H-NQ. Although qE induction resulted in an overall increase in absorption cross-section, unlike the decrease expected for antenna quenchers like the quinone, a larger increase in crosssection was observed when qE induction was attempted in thylakoids with collapsed pH gradients (uncoupled by nigericin), in the absence of xanthophyll cycle operation (inhibited by DTT), or in the absence of quenching (LlpH not maintained in the dark due to omission of ATP). Fluorescence decay curves exhibited a similar disparity between qE-quenched and 5-0H-NQ-quenched thylakoids, although both sets showed accelerated kinetics in the fastest decay components at both F0 and Fm. In addition, the kinetics of dark-adapted thylakoids were nearly identical to those in qEquenched samples at F0' both accelerated in comparison with thylakoids in which the redox poise of the Oxygen-Evolving Complex was randomized by exposure to low levels of background light (which allowed appropriate comparison with F0 yields from quenched samples). When modelled with the Reversible Radical Pair model for PSII (Schatz et aI., 1988), quinone quenching could be sufficiently described by increasing only the rate constant for decay in the antenna (as in Vasil'ev et aI., 1998), whereas modelling of data from qE-quenched thylakoids required changes in both the antenna rate constant and in rate constants for the reaction centre. The clear differences between qE and 5-0H-NQ quenching demonstrated that qE could not have its origins in the antenna alone, but is rather accompanied by reaction centre quenching. Defined mechanisms of reaction centre quenching are discussed, also in relation to the observed post-quenching depression in Fm associated with photoinhibition.