Photosynthesis is tightly regulated in order to withstand dynamic light environments. Under high light intensities, a mechanism known as non-photochemical quenching (NPQ) dissipates excess excitation energy, protecting the photosynthetic machinery from damage. An obstacle that lies in the way of understanding the molecular mechanism of NPQ is the large gap between in vitro and in vivo studies. On the one hand, the complexity of the photosynthetic membrane makes it challenging to obtain molecular information from in vivo experiments. On the other hand, a suitable in vitro system for the study of quenching is not available. Here we have developed a minimal NPQ system using proteoliposomes. With this, we demonstrate that the combination of low pH and PsbS is both necessary and sufficient to induce quenching in LHCII, the main antenna complex of plants. This proteoliposome system can be further exploited to gain more insight into how PsbS and other factors (e.g. zeaxanthin) influence the quenching mechanism observed in LHCII.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors thank Laura M. Roy for constructing the PsbS-Strep plants and Vincent M. Friebe for helpful technical advice. The project was supported by the Dutch organization for Scientific research via a VICI Grant to R.C. L.N. received financial support from the New Zealand Government through the Royal Society of New Zealand Te Apārangi Rutherford Foundation.
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