Ferredoxins (FDX) and the FDX:NADP+ oxidoreductase (FNR) represent a key junction of electron transport downstream of photosystem I (PSI). Dynamic recruitment of FNR to the thylakoid membrane has been considered as a potential mechanism to define the fate of photosynthetically derived electrons. In this study, we investigated the functional importance of the association of FNR with the photosynthetic apparatus in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. In vitro assays based on NADP+ photoreduction measurements as well as NMR chemical shift perturbation analyses showed that FNR preferentially interacts with FDX1 compared to FDX2. Notably, binding of FNR to a PSI supercomplex further enhanced this preference for FDX1 over FDX2, suggesting that FNR is potentially capable of channelling electrons towards distinct routes. NADP+ photoreduction assays and immunoblotting revealed that the association of FNR with the thylakoid membrane including the PSI supercomplex is impaired in the absence of Proton Gradient Regulation 5 (PGR5) and/or Proton Gradient Regulation 5-Like photosynthetic phenotype 1 (PGRL1), implying that both proteins, directly or indirectly, contribute to the recruitment of FNR to the thylakoid membrane. As assessed via in vivo absorption spectroscopy and immunoblotting, PSI was the primary target of photodamage in response to high-light stress in the absence of PGR5 and/or PGRL1. Anoxia preserved the activity of PSI, pointing to enhanced electron donation to O2 as the source of the observed PSI inactivation and degradation. These findings establish another perspective on PGR5/PGRL1 knockout-related phenotypes and potentially interconnect FNR with the regulation of photosynthetic electron transport and PSI photoprotection in C. reinhardtii.
Keywords: Chlamydomonas reinhardtii; Electron transport regulation; Ferredoxin; Ferredoxin:NADP+ oxidoreductase; PGR5-like photosynthetic phenotype 1; Proton Gradient Regulation 5.