The secondary quinone acceptor, Q(B), has been studied in photosystem II (PSII) isolated from Thermosynechococcus (T.) elongatus. Thermoluminescence indicated that Q(B) was present in this preparation. An EPR signal observed at low temperature at g = 1.9 was attributed to Fe2+ Q(B)- on the basis of the characteristic period-of-two variations in its intensity depending on the number of laser flashes given at 20 degrees C. When samples showing the Fe2+ Q(B)- signal were illuminated at 77 K, an EPR signal at g = 1.66 appeared with an amplitude proportional to that of the Fe2+ Q(B)- signal. This signal is attributed to the Q(A)- Fe2+ Q(B)- state. While these attributions have been made previously in PSII from other origins, they have remained relatively tentative since the characteristic period-of-two oscillations of Q(B) had not previously been observed. The flash experiments indicated that more than one exchangeable plastoquinone is associated with the isolated PSII. The g = 1.66 signal from the Q(A)- Fe2+ Q(B)- state was used to study the temperature dependence of electron transfer between the two quinones. Electron transfer occurred in half of the centers (after 30 s incubation) at -28 degrees C for Q(A)- to Q(B) but at -58 degrees C for Q(A)- to Q(B)-. This marked difference for the two electron transfer reactions indicates different types of rate-limiting reactions. In the better studied but homologous system, the purple bacterial reaction center, the Q(A)- to Q(B) step is limited by a gating process, while the Q(A)- to Q(B)- step is limited by protonation events. Similar reactions in PSII could give rise to the observed temperature dependence.