Function of plastoquinones B and C as electron acceptors in Photosystem II and fatty acid analysis of plastoquinone B

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We have found that in petroleum-ether extracted tobacco thylakoids, plastoquinone A (PQ-A) and plastoquinone C (PQ-C) had similar efficiency in restoration of oxygen-evolving activity, while plastoquinone B (PQ-B), which is a fatty acid ester of PQ-C, was about 50% less effective. This indicates that apart from PQ-A, PQ-C and to a smaller extent PQ-B may function as electron acceptors of Photosystem II (PS II). The DCMU inhibition curves for PQ-C and PQ-B were biphasic and an initial slow decline was followed by a sharp decrease in oxygen evolution yield with a 50% inhibition (I50) at 0.25 μM DCMU. In the case of PQ-A (I50 = 0.20 μM DCMU), the activity decreased gradually without the sharp transition. The corresponding inhibition curve for unextracted thylakoids, where all the native prenylquinones are present, shows an intermediate shape between PQ-A and PQ-C but with a higher I50, equal to 0.32 μM, suggesting that the contribution of PQ-C as an electron acceptor of Photosystem II might be significant in thylakoid membranes with natural prenyllipid composition. α-Tocopherol quinone showed no activity in the restoration of oxygen evolution in extracted thylakoids, indicating that it cannot accept electrons from PS II. The fatty acid composition of PQ-B isolated from maple leaves showed a high degree of saturated fatty acids like myristic and palmitic acid, and its unique composition indicates that it is a natural component of the thylakoid membrane.

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