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Antimycin A inhibits cytochrome b559-mediated cyclic electron flow within photosystem II

Takagi, Daisuke, Ifuku, Kentaro, Nishimura, Taishi, Miyake, Chikahiro
Photosynthesis research 2019 v.139 no.1-3 pp. 487-498
NADP (coenzyme), adenosine triphosphate, antimycin A, autotrophs, energy, leaves, lighting, oxidation, oxygen, photoinhibition, photosystem I, photosystem II, spinach, thylakoids
The light reactions of photosynthesis are known to comprise both linear and cyclic electron flow in order to convert light energy into chemical energy in the form of NADPH and ATP. Antimycin A (AA) has been proposed as an inhibitor of ferredoxin-dependent cyclic electron flow around photosystem I (CEF-PSI) in photosynthesis research. However, its precise inhibitory mechanism and target site had not been elucidated yet. Here we show that AA inhibits the cyclic (alternative) electron flow via cytochrome b₅₅₉ (Cyt b₅₅₉) within photosystem II (CEF-PSII). When AA was applied to thylakoid membranes isolated from spinach leaves, the high potential form of Cyt b₅₅₉, which was reduced in the dark, was transformed into the lower potential forms and readily oxidized by molecular oxygen. In the absence of AA, the reduced Cyt b₅₅₉ was oxidized by P680⁺ upon light illumination and re-reduced in the dark, mainly by the electron from the QB site on the acceptor side of PSII. In contrast, AA suppressed the oxidation of Cyt b₅₅₉ and induced its reduction under the illumination. This inhibition of Cyt b₅₅₉ oxidation by AA enhanced photoinhibition of PSII. Based on the above results, we propose caution regarding the use of AA for evaluating CEF-PSI per se and concurrently propose that AA provides for new insights into, and interpretations of, the physiological importance of Cyt b₅₅₉, rather than that of CEF-PSI in photosynthetic organisms.