Cyclic electron flow around photosystem I (CEF1) is thought to augment chloroplast ATP production to meet metabolic needs. Very little is known about the induction and regulation of CEF1. We investigated the effects on CEF1 of antisense suppression of the Calvin-Benson enzymes glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (gapR), and ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) small subunit (SSU), in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum cv. Wisconsin 38). The gapR, but not ssuR, mutants showed substantial increases in CEF1, demonstrating that specific intermediates, rather than slowing of assimilation, induce CEF1. Both types of mutant showed increases in steady-state transthylakoid proton motive force (pmf) and subsequent activation of the photoprotective q(E) response. With gapR, the increased pmf was caused both by up-regulation of CEF1 and down-regulation of the ATP synthase. In ssuR, the increased pmf was attributed entirely to a decrease in ATP synthase activity, as previously seen in wild-type plants when CO₂ levels were decreased. Comparison of major stromal metabolites in gapR, ssuR and hcef1, a mutant with decreased fructose 1,6-bisphosphatase activity, showed that neither the ATP/ADP ratio, nor major Calvin-Benson cycle intermediates can directly account for the activation of CEF1, suggesting that chloroplast redox status or reactive oxygen species regulate CEF1.
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