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Biological Chemistry

Editor-in-Chief: Brüne, Bernhard

Editorial Board Member: Buchner, Johannes / Ludwig, Stephan / Sies, Helmut / Turk, Boris / Wittinghofer, Alfred

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Solvent-induced changes in photochemical activity and conformation of photosystem I particles by glycerol

Xiaohua Ren1 / Zhenle Yang2 / Tingyun Kuang3




Corresponding author

Citation Information: Biological Chemistry. Volume 387, Issue 1, Pages 23–29, ISSN (Online) 1437-4315, ISSN (Print) 1431-6730, DOI: 10.1515/BC.2006.005, January 2006

Publication History

July 9, 2005
October 18, 2005
Published Online:


It has been shown that a large number of water molecules coordinate with the pigments and subunits of photosystem I (PSI); however, the function of these water molecules remains to be clarified. In this study, the photosynthetic properties of PSI from spinach were investigated using different spectroscopic and activity measurements under conditions of decreasing water content caused by increasing concentrations of glycerol. The results show that glycerol addition caused pronounced changes in the photochemical activity of PSI particles. At low concentrations (<60%, v/v), glycerol stimulated the rate of oxygen uptake in PSI particles, while higher concentrations of glycerol cause inhibition of PSI activity. The capacity of P700 photooxidation also increased with glycerol concentrations lower than 60%. In contrast, this capacity decreased at higher glycerol concentrations. On the other hand, glycerol addition considerably affected the distribution of the bulk and red antenna chlorophyll (Chl) forms or states, with the population of red-shifted Chl forms augmented with increasing glycerol. In addition, glycerol-treated PSI particles showed a blue shift of the tryptophan fluorescence emission maximum and an increase in their capacity to bind the hydrophobic probe 1-anilino-8-naphthalene sulfonate, indicating a more non-polar environment for tryptophan residues and increased exposure of hydrophobic surfaces.

Keywords: conformational change; fluorescence; glycerol; oxygen uptake; P700 photooxidation; photosystem I

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