Mechanisms and Functions of Photosystem I-Related Alternative Electron Transport Pathways in Chloroplasts

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This review analyzes various alternative pathways of chloroplast electron transport mediated by photoreactions of photosystem I (PSI) and unrelated to activity of photosystem II (PSII). The mechanisms and functional significance of the alternative pathways are considered. These pathways are complexly organized and comprise ferredoxin-dependent electron recycling around PSI, as well as electron donation to noncyclic chain in the region between PSII and PSI from reduced substances localized in the chloroplast stroma. For each of the alternative pathways, the origin of corresponding enzymes and their compartmentalization in the complex membrane system of the chloroplast are discussed. It is shown that operation of alternative electron transport pathways contributes to energy transduction and cell defense function, facilitates the absorption of inorganic carbon, and is significant for chloroplast respiration. Multiple mechanisms for regulation of alternative pathways have been revealed. It is concluded that PSI-related alternative electron transport pathways constitute an integral part of entire system of photosynthetic electron transport, this system being principally responsible for energy supply of phototrophic cells and whole plants.

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