Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 64, Issue 1, pp 1–13 | Cite as

Electron acceptors in isolated intact spinach chloroplasts act hierarchically to prevent over-reduction and competition for electrons

  • Jan E. Backhausen
  • Camillo Kitzmann
  • Peter Horton
  • Renate Scheibe


Electron fluxes in isolated intact spinach chloroplasts were analyzed under saturating light and under optimal CO2 and Pi supply. When CO2 assimilation was the only ATP- and NADPH-consuming reaction, the ΔpH decreased and the chloroplasts showed clear evidence of over-reduction. This suggested that additional electron flow is required in order to maintain the ΔpH and the stromal NADPH/ATP ratio. The additional electron flow may be cyclic electron transport around Photosystem I and linear electron transport towards either oxaloacetate or O2. The contributions of, and the interrelationships between, these three electron transfer pathways were analyzed by following the reactions of chloroplasts in their presence or absence, and by monitoring to what extent they were able to compensate for each other. Inhibition of cyclic electron flow by antimycin A caused strong over-reduction and decreased the ΔpH. Only oxaloacetate, but not O2, was able to restore photosynthesis. In the presence of H2O2, there was a rapid build-up of a high ΔpH, and the reduction of any other electron acceptor was prevented. It is concluded that the different electron acceptors in the stroma are organized in a hierarchical manner; this allows electron flux towards CO2 and nitrite reduction to proceed without any competition for electrons, and any excess electrons to be taken by these additional non-assimilatory pathways. Hence, the ΔpH is maintained at the required level and over-reduction of the electron transport chain and the stromal redox components is avoided.

antimycin A chloroplasts hydrogen peroxide malate valve redox state 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan E. Backhausen
    • 1
  • Camillo Kitzmann
    • 2
  • Peter Horton
    • 3
  • Renate Scheibe
    • 4
  1. 1.Pflanzenphysiologie, Fachbereich Biologie/ChemieUniversität OsnabrückOsnabrückGermany
  2. 2.Lehrstuhl für PflanzenphysiologieHumboldt-UniversitätBerlinGermany
  3. 3.Robert Hill Institute, Department of Molecular Biology and BiotechnologyUniversity of Sheffield, Western BankSheffieldUK
  4. 4.Pflanzenphysiologie, Fachbereich Biologie/ChemieUniversität OsnabrückOsnabrückGermany

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