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Plöchinger, Magdalena; Torabi, Salar; Rantala, Marjaana; Tikkanen, Mikko; Suorsa, Marjaana; Jensen, Poul-Erik; Aro, Eva Mari and Meurer, Jörg (2016): The Low Molecular Weight Protein PsaI Stabilizes the Light-Harvesting Complex II Docking Site of Photosystem I-1. In: Plant Physiology, Vol. 172, No. 1: pp. 450-463

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PsaI represents one of three low molecular weight peptides of PSI. Targeted inactivation of the plastid PsaI gene in Nicotiana tabacum has no measurable effect on photosynthetic electron transport around PSI or on accumulation of proteins involved in photosynthesis. Instead, the lack of PsaI destabilizes the association of PsaL and PsaH to PSI, both forming the light-harvesting complex (LHC)II docking site of PSI. These alterations at the LHCII binding site surprisingly did not prevent state transition but led to an increased incidence of PSI-LHCII complexes, coinciding with an elevated phosphorylation level of the LHCII under normal growth light conditions. Remarkably, LHCII was rapidly phosphorylated in Delta psaI in darkness even after illumination with far-red light. We found that this dark phosphorylation also occurs in previously described mutants impaired in PSI function or state transition. A prompt shift of the plastoquinone (PQ) pool into a more reduced redox state in the dark caused an enhanced LHCII phosphorylation in DpsaI. Since the redox status of the PQ pool is functionally connected to a series of physiological, biochemical, and gene expression reactions, we propose that the shift of mutant plants into state 2 in darkness represents a compensatory and/or protective metabolic mechanism. This involves an increased reduction and/or reduced oxidation of the PQ pool, presumably to sustain a balanced excitation of both photosystems upon the onset of light.

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