The End of the Line: Can Ferredoxin and Ferredoxin NADP(H) Oxidoreductase Determine the Fate of Photosynthetic Electrons?
At the end of the linear photosynthetic electron transfer (PET) chain, the small soluble protein ferredoxin (Fd)
transfers electrons to Fd:NADP(H) oxidoreductase (FNR), which can then reduce NADP+ to support C assimilation. In
addition to this linear electron flow (LEF), Fd is also thought to mediate electron flow back to the membrane complexes
by different cyclic electron flow (CEF) pathways: either antimycin A sensitive, NAD(P)H complex dependent, or through
FNR located at the cytochrome b6f complex. Both Fd and FNR are present in higher plant genomes as multiple gene copies,
and it is now known that specific Fd iso-proteins can promote CEF. In addition, FNR iso-proteins vary in their ability
to dynamically interact with thylakoid membrane complexes, and it has been suggested that this may also play a role in
CEF. We will highlight work on the different Fd-isoproteins and FNR-membrane association found in the bundle sheath
(BSC) and mesophyll (MC) cell chloroplasts of the C4 plant maize. These two cell types perform predominantly CEF and
LEF, and the properties and activities of Fd and FNR in the BSC and MC are therefore specialized for CEF and LEF respectively.
A diversity of Fd isoproteins and dynamic FNR location has also been recorded in C3 plants, algae and cyanobacteria.
This indicates that the principles learned from the extreme electron transport situations in the BSC and MC of
maize might be usefully applied to understanding the dynamic transition between these states in other systems.
Keywords: Bundle sheath, cyclic electron flow, ferredoxin, FNR, mesophyll.
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