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Low-pH induced reversible reorganizations of chloroplast thylakoid membranes — As revealed by small-angle neutron scattering

Ünnep, Renáta, Zsiros, Ottó, Hörcsik, Zsolt, Markó, Márton, Jajoo, Anjana, Kohlbrecher, Joachim, Garab, Győző, Nagy, Gergely
BBA - Bioenergetics 2017 v.1858 pp. 360-365
acidification, energy, energy metabolism, pH, thylakoids
Energization of thylakoid membranes brings about the acidification of the lumenal aqueous phase, which activates important regulatory mechanisms. Earlier Jajoo and coworkers (2014 FEBS Lett. 588:970) have shown that low pH in isolated plant thylakoid membranes induces changes in the excitation energy distribution between the two photosystems. In order to elucidate the structural background of these changes, we used small-angle neutron scattering on thylakoid membranes exposed to low p2H (pD) and show that gradually lowering the p2H from 8.0 to 5.0 causes small but well discernible reversible diminishment of the periodic order and the lamellar repeat distance and an increased mosaicity — similar to the effects elicited by light-induced acidification of the lumen. Our data strongly suggest that thylakoids dynamically respond to the membrane energization and actively participate in different regulatory mechanisms.