Photochemical Reactions of Photosystem II in Ethylene Glycol

Warwick Hillier, Philip Lukins, Michael Seibert, Tom Wydrzynski

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8 Scopus Citations


The behavior of photosystem II (PSII) reactions was investigated under conditions of decreasing water content by the addition of increasing concentrations of ethylene glycol (EG). The photosynthetic activities were measured for PSII samples either directly in aqueous solutions of EG or in the standard buffer medium following EG treatment. Several effects on PSII arise upon exposure to EG. Below 50% EG there are no significant irreversible changes, although there is a slowing of the Q(A)- reoxidation kinetics in the presence of EG. At concentrations of 50-70% EG, protein structural changes occur that include the release of the 16, 23, and 33 kDa extrinsic proteins and two of the catalytic Mn ions. For these samples, the capacity for O2 evolution is considerably reduced and the formation of donor side H2O2 is enhanced. In 60% EG, the nanosecond components in the rate of P680+ reduction are converted entirely to microsecond kinetics which upon return of the sample to the standard buffer medium are partially restored, indicating that EG has a reversible, solvent effect on the PSII donor side. At concentrations of EG >70% chlorophyll fluorescence measurements reveal reversible increases in the F(o) level concomitant with the generation and disappearance of a 5 μs decay component in the P680+ reduction kinetics. This result may indicate a solvent-induced uncoupling of the light harvesting pigment bed from the reaction center complex. As the EG concentration is increased to 80-100%, there is an irreversible loss of the primary charge separation. The use of EG as a cryoprotectant and as a water-miscible organic solvent for PSII is discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)76-85
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1997

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-450-23050


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