Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 30, Issue 2–3, pp 115–121 | Cite as

A simple model relating photoinhibitory fluorescence quenching in chloroplasts to a population of altered Photosystem II reaction centers

  • Christoph Giersch
  • G. Heinrich Krause
Regular Paper


A model is presented describing the relationship between chlorophyll fluorescence quenching and photoinhibition of Photosystem (PS) II-dependent electron transport in chloroplasts. The model is based on the hypothesis that excess light creates a population of inhibited PS II units in the thylakoids. Those units are supposed to posses photochemically inactive reaction centers which convert excitation energy to heat and thereby quench variable fluorescence. If predominant photoinhibition of PS IIα and cooperativity in energy transfer between inhibited and active units are presumed, a quasi-linear correlation between PS II activity and the ratio of variable to maximum fluorescence, FVFM, is obtained. However, the simulation does not result in an inherent linearity of the relationship between quantum yield of PS II and FVFM ratio. The model is used to fit experimental data on photoinhibited isolated chloroplasts. Results are discussed in view of current hypotheses of photoinhibition.

Key words

chlorophyll fluorescence electron transport photochemical reaction (in Photosystem II) photoinhibition of photosynthesis 



maximum total fluorescence


initial fluorescence


maximum variable fluorescence




primary and secondary electron acceptors of Photosystem II


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Barényi B and Krause GH (1985) Inhibition of photosynthetic reactions by light. A study with isolated chloroplasts. Planta 163: 218–226Google Scholar
  2. Björkman O (1987) Low-temperature chlorophyll fluorescence in leaves and its relation to photon yield of photosynthesis in photoinhibition. In: Kyle DJ, Osmond CB and Arntzen CJ (eds) Topics in Photosynthesis. Photoinhibition, Vol 9, pp 123–144. Elsevier, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  3. Butler WL (1978) Energy distribution in the photochemical apparatus of photosynthesis. Ann Rev Plant Physiol 29: 345–378Google Scholar
  4. Chylla RA and Whitmarsh J (1989) Inactive Photosystem II complexes in leaves. Turnover rate and quantification. Plant Physiol 90: 765–772Google Scholar
  5. Cleland RE (1988) Molecular events of photoinhibitory inactivation in the reaction centre of Photosystem II. Aust J Plant Physiol 5: 135–150Google Scholar
  6. Cleland RE and Critchley C (1985) Studies on the mechanism of photoinhibition in higher plants. II. Inactivation by high light of Photosystem II reaction center function in isolated spinach thylakoids and O2 evolving particles. Photobiochem Photobiophys 10: 83–92Google Scholar
  7. Cleland RE, Melis A and Neale PJ (1986) Mechanism of photoinhibition: photochemical reaction center inactivation in system II of chloroplasts. Photosynth Res 9: 79–88Google Scholar
  8. Critchley C (1988) The molecular mechanism of photoinhibition-facts and fiction. Aust J Plant Physiol 15: 27–41Google Scholar
  9. Demmig-Adams B (1990) Carotenoids and photoprotection in plants: A role for the xanthophyll zeaxanthin. Biochim Biophys Acta 1020: 1–24Google Scholar
  10. Demmig B and Björkman O (1987) Comparison of the effect of excessive light on chlorophyll fluorescence (77 K) and photon yield of O2 evolution in leaves of higher plants. Planta 171: 171–184Google Scholar
  11. Hipkins MF (1978) Kinetic analysis of the chlorophyll fluorescence induction from chloroplasts blocked with 3-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)-1,1-dimethylurea. Biochim Biophys Acta 502: 514–523Google Scholar
  12. Holzwarth AR (1991) Excited state kinetics in chlorophyll systems and its relationship to the functional organization of the photosystem. In: Scheer H (ed) The Chlorophylls. CRC Handbook, 1125–1151. Boca Raton: CRC PressGoogle Scholar
  13. Jennings RC, Garlaschi FM and Zucchelli G (1991) Light-induced fluorescence quenching in the light-harvesting chlorophyll a/b protein complex. Photosynth Res 27: 57–64Google Scholar
  14. Joliot A and Joliot P (1964) Etude cinétique de la réaction photochimique libérant l'oxygene au cours de la photosynthése. CR Acad Sci Paris 258: 4622–4625Google Scholar
  15. Joliot P, Joliot A and Kok B (1968) Analysis of the interactions between the two photosystems in isolated chloroplasts. Biochim Biophys Acta 153: 635–652Google Scholar
  16. Keuper HJK and Sauer K (1989) Effect of Photosystem II reaction center closure on nanosecond fluorescence relaxation kinetics. Photosynth Res 20: 85–103Google Scholar
  17. Kok B, Gassner EB and Rurainski HJ (1965) Photoinhibition of chloroplast reactions. Photochem Photobiol 4: 215–227Google Scholar
  18. Krause GH (1988) Photoinhibition of photosynthesis. An evaluation of damaging and protective mechanisms. Physiol Plant 74: 566–574Google Scholar
  19. Krause GH and Somersalo S (1989) Fluorescence as a tool in photosynthesis research: Application in studies of photoinhibition, cold acclimation and freezing stress. Phil Trans R Soc Lond B 323: 281–293Google Scholar
  20. Krause GH and Weis E (1991) Chlorophyll fluorescence and photosynthesis: The basics. Annu Rev Plant Physiol Plant Mol Biol 42: 313–349Google Scholar
  21. Krause GH, Somersalo S, Zumbusch E, Weyers B and Laasch H (1990) On the mechanism of photoinhibition in chloroplasts. Relationship between changes in fluorescence and activity of Photosystem II. J Plant Physiol 136: 472–479Google Scholar
  22. Kyle DJ (1987) The biochemical basis for photoinhibition of Photosystem II. In: Kyle DJ, Osmond CB and Arntzen CJ (eds) Topics inPhotoinhibition. Photosynthesis, Vol 9, pp 197–226. Elsevier, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  23. Lavorel J and Etienne A-L (1977) In vivo chlorophyll fluorescence. In: Barber J (ed) Topics in Photosynthesis. Primary Processes of Photosynthesis, Vol 2, pp 203–268. Elseveier, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  24. Melis A (1985) Functional properties of Photosystem IIβ in spinach chloroplasts. Biochim Biophys Acta 808: 334–342Google Scholar
  25. Melis A, Guenther GE, Morissey PJ and Ghirardi ML (1988) Photosystem II heterogeneity in chloroplasts. In: Lichtenthaler HK (ed) Applications of Chlorophyll Fluorescence, pp 33–43. Kluwer, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  26. Ögren E and Öquist G (1984) Photoinhibition of photosynthesis in Lemna gibba as induced by the interaction between light and temperature. III. Chlorophyll fluorescence at 77 K. Physiol Plant 62: 193–200Google Scholar
  27. Ort DR and Whitmarsh J (1990) Inactive Photosystem II centers: A resolution of discrepancies in photoystem II quantitation? Photosynth Res 23: 101–104Google Scholar
  28. Powles SB and Björkman O (1982) Photoinhibition of photosynthesis: Effect on chlorophyll fluorescence at 77 K in intact leaves and in chloroplast membranes of Nerium oleander. Planta 156: 97–107Google Scholar
  29. Richter M, Rühle W and Wild A (1990) Studies on the mechanism of Photosystem II photoinhibition. II. The involvement of toxic oxygen species. Photosynth Res 24: 237–243Google Scholar
  30. Schatz GH, Brock H and Holzwarth AR (1988) Kinetic and energetic model for the primary processes in Photosystem II. Biophys J 54: 397–405Google Scholar
  31. Somersalo S and Krause GH (1989) Photoinhibition at chilling temperature. Fluorescence characteristics of unhardened and cold-acclimated spinach leaves. Planta 177: 409–416Google Scholar
  32. Somersalo S and Krause GH (1990) Reversible photoinhibition of unhardened and cold-acclimated spinach leaves at chilling temperatures. Planta 180: 181–187Google Scholar
  33. vanGrondelle R and Amesz J (1986) Excitation energy transfer in photosynthetic systems. In: Govindjee, Amesz J and Fork DC (eds), Light Emission by Plants and Bacteria, pp 191–223. Academic Press, OrlandoGoogle Scholar
  34. Vogelmann TC, Bornman JF and Josserand S (1989) Photosynthetic light gradients and spectral régime within leaves of Medicago sativa. Phil Trans R Soc Lond B 323: 411–421Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christoph Giersch
    • 1
  • G. Heinrich Krause
    • 2
  1. 1.Botanical InstituteTechnical University DarmstadtDarmstadt
  2. 2.Institute for Biochemistry of PlantsHeinrich Heine University DüsseldorfDüsseldorf 1Germany

Personalised recommendations