Irradiation of the photosynthetic machinery with strong light induces damage to the photosystem II complex (PSII), and this phenomenon is referred to as photodamage. In an attempt to characterize the mechanism of photodamage to PSII, we examined the events associated with photodamage by monitoring the phenomenon in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 at a low temperature. After the activity of PSII had been reduced to 10% of the original activity by exposure of Synechocystis cells to strong light at 10 °C, recovery was allowed to proceed at 34 °C in darkness. Under these conditions, approximately 50% of the activity of PSII was restored within 60 min. The recovery in darkness did not require protein synthesis, as demonstrated by Western blotting analysis and a radiolabeling experiment with [35S]methionine. We also observed a similar recovery of PSII in darkness in isolated thylakoid membranes. Our findings, together with those of other studies, suggest the presence of an intermediate form of photodamaged PSII that is generated prior to the formation of photodamaged PSII.
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