Data are presented which suggest that photosystem II dependent hydrogen ion accumulation and ATP synthesis can occur only after the lamellar membranes have undergone a conformational change. This membrane conformational change is detected by the electron transport dependent incorporation of diazonium benzene[35S]sulfonate into membrane components. Previously it was established that electron flux from the photosystem II primary acceptor to plastoquinone is a necessary event for the occurrence of the diazonium-detected conformational change. These studies indicate that the release of hydrogen ions during photosystem II oxidation of the primary reductant is also a necessary event for the diazonium-detected conformational change. When iodide ions were substituted for water (or other proton-releasing donors) as the primary reductant of system II the conformational change did not occur even though a substantial rate of electron flow from the primary acceptor to plastoquinone occurred.
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