, Volume 84, Issue 1-3, pp 35-41

Photoinactivation of Photosystem II in leaves

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Photoinactivation of Photosystem II (PS II), the light-induced loss of ability to evolve oxygen, inevitably occurs under any light environment in nature, counteracted by repair. Under certain conditions, the extent of photoinactivation of PS II depends on the photon exposure (light dosage, x), rather than the irradiance or duration of illumination per se, thus obeying the law of reciprocity of irradiance and duration of illumination, namely, that equal photon exposure produces an equal effect. If the probability of photoinactivation (p) of PS II is directly proportional to an increment in photon exposure (p = kΔx, where k is the probability per unit photon exposure), it can be deduced that the number of active PS II complexes decreases exponentially as a function of photon exposure: N = N oexp(−kx). Further, since a photon exposure is usually achieved by varying the illumination time (t) at constant irradiance (I), N = N oexp(−kI t), i.e., N decreases exponentially with time, with a rate coefficient of photoinactivation kI, where the product kI is obviously directly proportional to I. Given that N = N oexp(−kx), the quantum yield of photoinactivation of PS II can be defined as −dN/dx = kN, which varies with the number of active PS II complexes remaining. Typically, the quantum yield of photoinactivation of PS II is ca. 0.1μmol PS II per mol photons at low photon exposure when repair is inhibited. That is, when about 107 photons have been received by leaf tissue, one PS II complex is inactivated. Some species such as grapevine have a much lower quantum yield of photoinactivation of PS II, even at a chilling temperature. Examination of the longer-term time course of photoinactivation of PS II in capsicum leaves reveals that the decrease in N deviates from a single-exponential decay when the majority of the PS II complexes are inactivated in the absence of repair. This can be attributed to the formation of strong quenchers in severely-photoinactivated PS II complexes, able to dissipate excitation energy efficiently and to protect the remaining active neighbours against damage by light.