* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received June 7, 2011; Revision received September 30, 2011
It has been shown that thermoinactivation of the isolated D1/D2/cytochrome b559 complex (RC) of photosystem 2 (PS-2) from pea under anaerobic conditions at 35°C in 20 mM Tris-HCl buffer (pH 7.2) depleted of HCO3–, with 35 mM NaCl and 0.05% n-dodecyl-β-maltoside, results in a decrease in photochemical activity measured by photoreduction of the PS-2 primary electron acceptor, pheophytin (by 50% after 3 min of heating), which is accompanied by aggregation of the D1 and D2 proteins. Bicarbonate, formate, and acetate anions added to the sample under these conditions differently influence the maintenance of photochemical activity: a 50% loss of photochemical activity occurs in 11.5 min of heating in the presence of bicarbonate and in 4 and 4.6 min in the presence of formate and acetate, respectively. The addition of bicarbonate completely prevents aggregation of the D1 and D2 proteins as opposed to formate and acetate (their presence has no effect on the aggregation during thermoinactivation). Since the isolated RCs have neither inorganic Mn/Ca-containing core of the water-oxidizing complex nor nonheme Fe2+, it is supposed that bicarbonate specifically interacts with the hydrophilic domains of the D1 and D2 proteins, which prevents their structural modification that is a signal for aggregation of these proteins and the loss of photochemical activity.
KEY WORDS: photosystem 2, isolated D1/D2/cytochrome b559 complex, bicarbonate, thermoinactivation