Oxygen uptake in isolated pea thylakoids in the presence of an inhibitor of plastoquinol oxidation by b 6/f-complex dinitrophenylether of 2-iodo-4-nitrothymol (DNP-INT) was studied. The rate of oxygen uptake in the absence of DNP-INT had a distinct maximum at pH 5.0 followed by a decline to pH 6.5 and posterior slow rise, while in the presence of an inhibitor it increased at an increasing pH from 4.5 to 6.5 and then kept close to the rate in its absence up to pH 8.5. Gramicidin D substantially affected the oxygen uptake rate in the absence of DNP-INT, and only slightly in its presence. Such differences pointed to the presence of special oxygen reduction site(s) in photosynthetic electron transport chain `before' cytochrome complex. Oxygen uptake in membrane fragments of Photosystem II (BBY-particles) was low and did not depend on pH. This did not support the participation of QB in oxygen reduction in DNP-INT-treated thylakoids. Oxygen uptake in thylakoids in the presence of DNP-INT was inhibited by DCMU as well as by catalase in whole pH range. The catalase effect indicated that oxygen uptake was the result of dioxygen reduction by electrons derived from water, and that H2O2 was a final product of this reduction. Photoreduction of Cyt c in the presence of DNP-INT was partly inhibited by superoxide dismutase (SOD), and this pointed to superoxide formation. The latter was confirmed by a rise of the oxygen uptake rate in the presence of ascorbate and by suppression of this rise by SOD. Both tests showed that the detectable superoxide radicals averaged 20–25% of potentially formed superoxide radicals the quantity of which was calculated from the oxygen uptake rate. The obtained data implies that the oxygen reduction takes place in a plastoquinone pool and occurs mainly inside the membrane, where superoxide can be consumed in concomitant reactions. A scheme for oxygen reduction in a plastoquinone pool in thylakoid membranes is proposed.
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