Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 116, Issue 2–3, pp 511–534 | Cite as

pH-Dependent regulation of electron transport and ATP synthesis in chloroplasts

  • Alexander N. TikhonovEmail author


This review is focused on pH-dependent mechanisms of regulation of photosynthetic electron transport and ATP synthesis in chloroplasts. The light-induced acidification of the thylakoid lumen is known to decelerate the plastoquinol oxidation by the cytochrome b 6 f complex, thus impeding the electron flow between photosystem II and photosystem I. Acidification of the lumen also triggers the dissipation of excess energy in the light-harvesting antenna of photosystem II, thereby protecting the photosynthetic apparatus against a solar stress. After brief description of structural and functional organization of the chloroplast electron transport chain, our attention is focused on the nature of the rate-limiting step of electron transfer between photosystem II and photosystem I. In the context of pH-dependent mechanism of photosynthetic control in chloroplasts, the mechanisms of plastoquinol oxidation by the cytochrome b 6 f complex have been considered. The light-induced alkalization of stroma is another factor of pH-dependent regulation of electron transport in chloroplasts. Alkalization of stroma induces activation of the Bassham–Benson–Calvin cycle reactions, thereby promoting efflux of electrons from photosystem I to NADP+. The mechanisms of the light-induced activation of ATP synthase are briefly considered.


Photosynthesis Chloroplasts Electron transport pH-Dependent regulation 



I thank professors L.A. Blumenfeld and E.K. Ruuge, whose support I felt for many years. I also thank all of my colleagues who have been involved in the work. Experimental and theoretical data used in this article for illustration of pH-dependent regulatory processes in chloroplasts were obtained in cooperation with G.B. Khomutov, A.A. Timoshin, B.V. Trubitsin, V.V. Ptushenko, and A.E. Frolov. I am deeply grateful to all of them. I also thank anonymous reviewers for reading the manuscript and useful comments. This work was supported in part by the Russian Foundation for Basic Researches (project 12-04-01267a).


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biophysics, Faculty of PhysicsM. V. Lomonosov, Moscow State UniversityMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Moscow Physical-Technical InstituteMoscow RegionRussia

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