Properties of Photosystem II lacking the PsbJ subunit

Photosynth Res. 2022 Jun;152(3):347-361. doi: 10.1007/s11120-021-00880-w. Epub 2021 Oct 18.


Photosystem II (PSII), the oxygen-evolving enzyme, consists of 17 trans-membrane and 3 extrinsic membrane proteins. Other subunits bind to PSII during assembly, like Psb27, Psb28, and Tsl0063. The presence of Psb27 has been proposed (Zabret et al. in Nat Plants 7:524-538, 2021; Huang et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 118:e2018053118, 2021; Xiao et al. in Nat Plants 7:1132-1142, 2021) to prevent the binding of PsbJ, a single transmembrane α-helix close to the quinone QB binding site. Consequently, a PSII rid of Psb27, Psb28, and Tsl0034 prior to the binding of PsbJ would logically correspond to an assembly intermediate. The present work describes experiments aiming at further characterizing such a ∆PsbJ-PSII, purified from the thermophilic Thermosynechococcus elongatus, by means of MALDI-TOF spectroscopy, thermoluminescence, EPR spectroscopy, and UV-visible time-resolved spectroscopy. In the purified ∆PsbJ-PSII, an active Mn4CaO5 cluster is present in 60-70% of the centers. In these centers, although the forward electron transfer seems not affected, the Em of the QB/QB- couple increases by ≥ 120 mV , thus disfavoring the electron coming back on QA. The increase of the energy gap between QA/QA- and QB/QB- could contribute in a protection against the charge recombination between the donor side and QB-, identified at the origin of photoinhibition under low light (Keren et al. in Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 94:1579-1584, 1997), and possibly during the slow photoactivation process.

Keywords: Assembly; Photoinhibition; Photosystem II; Plastoquinone; PsbJ.

MeSH terms

  • Cyanobacteria* / metabolism
  • Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Electron Transport
  • Electrons
  • Photosystem II Protein Complex* / metabolism
  • Protein Subunits / metabolism


  • Photosystem II Protein Complex
  • Protein Subunits