A transient in chlorophyll fluorescence after cessation of actinic light illumination, which has been ascribed to electron donation from stromal reductants to plastoquinone (PQ) by the NAD(P)H-dehydrogenase (NDH) complex, was investigated in Arabidopsis thaliana. The transient was absent in air in a mutant lacking the NDH complex (ndhM). However, in ndhM, the transient was detected in CO2-free air containing 2% O2. To investigate the reason, ndhM was crossed with a pgr5 mutant impaired in ferredoxin (Fd)-dependent electron donation from NADPH to PQ, which is known to be redundant for NDH-dependent PQ reduction in the cyclic electron flow around photosystem I (PSI). In ndhM pgr5, the transient was absent even in CO2-free air with 2% O2, demonstrating that the post-illumination transient can also be induced by the Fd- (or PGR5)-dependent PQ reduction. On the other hand, the transient increase in chlorophyll fluorescence was found to be enhanced in normal air in a mutant impaired in plastid fructose-1,6-bisphosphate aldolase (FBA) activity. The mutant, termed fba3-1, offers unique opportunities to examine the relative contribution of the two paths, i.e., the NDH- and Fd- (or PGR5)-dependent paths, on the PSI cyclic electron flow. Crossing fba3-1 with either ndhM or pgr5 and assessing the transient suggested that the main route for the PSI cyclic electron flow shifts from the NDH-dependent path to the Fd-dependent path in response to sink limitation of linear electron flow.
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