Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 60, Issue 2–3, pp 151–163 | Cite as

How acidic is the lumen?

  • David M. Kramer
  • Colette A. Sacksteder
  • Jeffrey A. Cruz


Proton motive force (pmf), established across the thylakoid membrane by photosynthetic electron transfer, functions both to drive the synthesis of ATP and initiate processes that down-regulate photosynthesis. At the same time, excessively low lumen pH can lead to the destruction of some lumenal components and sensitization of the photosynthetic apparatus to photoinhibition. Therefore, in order to understand the energy budget of photosynthesis, its regulation and responses to environmental stresses, it is essential to know the magnitude of pmf, its distribution between ΔpH and the electric field (Δϕ) as well as the relationships between these parameters and ΔGATP, and down-regulatory and inhibitory processes. We review past estimates of lumen pH and propose a model that can explain much of the divergent data in the literature. In this model, in intact plants under permissive conditions, photosynthesis is regulated so that lumen pH remains mod erate (between 5.8 and 6.5), where it modulates the activity of the violaxanthin deepoxidase, does not significantly restrict the turnover of the cytochrome b6f complex, and does not destabilize the oxygen evolving complex. Only under stressed conditions, where light input exceeds the capacity of both photosynthesis and down-regulatory processes, does lumen pH decrease below 5, possibly contributing to photoinhibition. A value of n = 4 for the stoichiometry of protons pumped through the ATP synthase per ATP synthesized, and a minor contribution of Δϕ to pmf, will allow moderate lumen pH to sustain the observed levels of ΔGATP.

chemiosmotic coupling electron transfer lumen regulation thylakoid 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • David M. Kramer
    • 1
  • Colette A. Sacksteder
    • 1
  • Jeffrey A. Cruz
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Biological Chemistry and Department of Biochemistry and BiophysicsWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA

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