Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 84, Issue 1–3, pp 35–41 | Cite as

Photoinactivation of Photosystem II in leaves

  • Wah Soon Chow
  • Hae-Youn Lee
  • Jie He
  • Luke Hendrickson
  • Young-Nam Hong
  • Shizue Matsubara
Regular Paper


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 = Noexp(−kx). Further, since a photon exposure is usually achieved by varying the illumination time (t) at constant irradiance (I), N = Noexp(−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 = Noexp(−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.


law of reciprocity photoinactivation of photosystem II quantum yield of photoinactivation quenching of excitation energy 



functional fraction of PS II

kr, ki

rate coefficient of repair and photoinactivation of PS II, respectively


number of functional PS II complexes


photosystem II


quantum yield of photoinactivation


photon exposure


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alcala, JR, Gratten, E, Prendergast, FG 1987Resolvability of fluorescence distributions using phase fluorometryBiophys J51587596PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Allakhverdiev, SI, Murata, N 2004Environmental stress inhibits the synthesis de novo of proteins involved in the photodamage-repair cycle of Photosystem II in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803Biochim Biophys Acta16572332PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Bell, CJ, Rose, DA 1981Light measurement and the terminology of flowPlant Cell Environ48996Google Scholar
  4. Björkman, O, Boardman, NK, Anderson, JM, Thorne, SW, Goodchild, DJ, Pyliotis, NA 1972Effect of light intensity during growth of Atriplex patula on the capacity of photosynthetic reactions, chloroplast composition and structureCarnegie Inst Year Book71115135Google Scholar
  5. Chow, WS, Lee, H-Y, Park, Y-I, Park, Y-M, Hong, Y-N, Anderson, JM 2002The role of inactive Photosystem-II-mediated quenching in a last-ditch community defence against high light stress in vivoPhil Trans R Soc Lond B35714411450CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Eckert, H-J, Geiken, B, Bernading, J, Napiwotzki, A, Eichler, H-J, Renger, G 1991Two sites of photoinhibition of the electron transfer in oxygen evolving and Tris-treated PS II membrane fragments from spinachPhotosynth Res2797108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. He, J, Chow, WS 2003The rate coefficient of repair of Photosystem II after photoinactivationPhysiol Plant118297304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hendrickson, L, Förster, B, Furbank, RT, Chow, WS 2004Processes contributing to photoprotection of grapevine leaves illuminated at low temperaturePhysiol Plant121272281PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Ivanov, AG, Sane, PV, Zeinalov, Y, Simidjiev, I, Huner, NPA, Öquist, G 2002Seasonal responses of photosynthetic electron transport in Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) studied by thermoluminescencePlanta215457465PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Jones, LW, Kok, B 1966Photoinhibition of chloroplast reactions. Kinetics and action spectraPlant Physiol4110371043Google Scholar
  11. Kato, MC, Hikosaka, K, Hirotsu, N, Makino, A, Hirose, T 2003The excess light energy that is neither utilized in photosynthesis nor dissipated by photoprotective mechanisms determines the rate of photoinactivation in Photosystem IIPlant Cell Physiol44318325PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Keren, N, Gong, H, Ohad, I 1995Oscillations of reaction center II-D1 protein degradation in vivo induced by repetitive light flashesJ Biol Chem270806814PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Keren, N, Ohad, I, Rutherford, AW, Drepper, F, Krieger-Liszkay, A 2000Inhibition of Photosystem II activity by saturating single turnover flashes in calcium-depleted and active Photosystem IIPhotosynth Res63209216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kok, B 1956On the inhibition of photosynthesis by intense lightBiochim Biophys Acta21234244PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Krause, GH 1988Photoinhibition of photosynthesis. An evaluation of damaging and protective mechanismsPhysiol Plant74566574Google Scholar
  16. Lee, H-Y, Chow, WS, Hong, Y-N 1999Photoinactivation of Photosystem II in leaves of Capsicum annuumPhysiol Plant105377384CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lee, H-Y, Hong, Y-N, Chow, WS 2001Photoinactivation of Photosystem II complexes and photoprotection by non-functional neighbours in Capsicum annuum L leavesPlanta212332342PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Matsubara, S, Chow, WS 2004Populations of photoinactivated Photosystem II characterized by chlorophyll fluorescence lifetime in vivoProc Natl Acad Sci USA1011823418239PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Nagy, L, Bálint, E, Barber, J, Ringler, A, Cook, KM, Maróti, P 1995Photoinhibition and law of reciprocity in photosynthetic reactions of Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803J Plant Physiol145410415Google Scholar
  20. Norén, H, Svensson, P, Andersson, B 1999Auxiliary photosynthetic functions of Arabidopsis thaliana – studies in vitro and in vivoBiosci Rep19499509PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Öquist, G, Chow, WS, Anderson, JM 1992Photoinhibition of photosynthesis represents a mechanism for the long-term regulation of Photosystem IIPlanta186450460Google Scholar
  22. Park, Y-I, Chow, WS, Anderson, JM 1995Light inactivation of functional Photosystem II in leaves of peas grown in moderate light depends on photon exposurePlanta196401411CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Park, Y-I, Anderson, JM, Chow, WS 1996Photoinactivation of Photosystem II and D1-protein synthesis in vivo are independent of the modulation of the photosynthetic apparatus by growth irradiancePlanta198300309CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Tyystjärvi, E, Aro, E-M 1996The rate constant of photoinhibition, measured in lincomycin-treated leaves, is directly proportional to light intensityProc Natl Acad Sci USA9322132218PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. van Gorkom, HJ, Schelvis, JPM 1993Kok’s oxygen clock: what makes it tick? The structure of P680 and consequences of its oxidising powerPhotosynth Res38297301CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wah Soon Chow
    • 1
  • Hae-Youn Lee
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jie He
    • 1
    • 3
  • Luke Hendrickson
    • 1
    • 4
  • Young-Nam Hong
    • 2
  • Shizue Matsubara
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Research School of Biological SciencesAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.School of Biological SciencesSeoul National UniversitySeoulSouth Korea
  3. 3.Natural Sciences Academic GroupNanyang Technological UniversitySingapore
  4. 4.Umeå Plant Science Center, Department of Plant PhysiologyUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden
  5. 5.Institut für PhytosphäreICG-IIIJülichGermany

Personalised recommendations