Photophosphorylation as a function of illumination time. I. Effects of permeant cations and permeant anions

Donald R. Ort, Richard A. Dilley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


(1) Very brief periods of illumination do not initiate photophosphorylation in isolated chloroplast lamellae. The time of illumination required before any phosphorylation can be detected is inversely proportional to the light intensity. At very high intensities, phosphorylation is initiated after illumination for about 4 ms. (2) There is no similar delay in the initiation of electron transport. The rate of electron transport is very high at first but declines at about the time the capacity for ATP synthesis develops. When the chloroplasts are uncoupled with gramicidin the high initial rate persists. (3) Various ions which permeate the thylakoid membrane (K+ or Rb+ in the presence of valinomycin, SCN-, I-, or ClO4-) markedly increase the time of illumination required to initiate phosphorylation. Potassium ions in the presence of valinomycin increase the delay to a maximum of about 50 ms whereas thiocyanate ions increase the delay to a maximum of about 25 ms. The effects of K+ with valinomycin and the effect of SCN- are not additive. Permeant ions and combinations of permeant ions have little or no effect on phosphorylation during continuous illumination. (4) The reason for the threshold in the light requirement and the reason for the effect of permeant ions thereon are both obscure. However, it could be argued that the energy for phosphorylation initially resides in an electric potential gradient which is abolished by migration of ions in the field, leaving a more slowly developing proton concentration gradient as the main driving force for phosphorylation during continuous illumination. If so, the threshold in the presence of permeant ions should depend on internal hydrogen ion buffering.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-107
Number of pages13
JournalBBA - Bioenergetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 13 1976
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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