Violaxanthin accessibility and temperature dependency for de-epoxidation in spinach thylakoid membranes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Using DTT and iodoacetamide as a novel irreversible method to inhibit endogenous violaxanthin de-epoxidase, we found that violaxanthin could be converted into zeaxanthin from both sides of the thylakoid membrane provided that purified violaxanthin de-epoxidase was added. The maximum conversion was the same from both sides of the membrane. Temperature was found to have a strong influence both on the rate and degree of maximal violaxanthin to zeaxanthin conversion. Thus only 50% conversion of violaxanthin was detected at 4 degreesC, whereas at 25 degreesC and 37 degreesC the degree of conversion was 70% and 80%, respectively. These results were obtained with isolated thylakoids from non-cold acclimated leafs. Pigment analysis of sub-thylakoid membrane domains showed that violaxanthin was evenly distributed between stroma lamellae and grana partitions. This was in contrast to chlorophyll a and beta-carotene which were enriched in stroma lamellae fractions while chlorophyll b, lutein and neoxanthin were enriched in the grana membranes. In combination with added violaxanthin de-epoxidase we found almost the same degree of conversion of violaxanthin to zeaxanthin (73-78%) for different domains of the thylakoid membrane. We conclude that violaxanthin de-epoxidase converts violaxanthin in the lipid matrix and not at the proteins, that violaxanthin does not prefer one particular membrane region or one particular chlorophyll protein complex, and that the xanthophyll cycle pigments are oriented in a vertical manner in order to be accessible from both sides of the membrane when located in the lipid matrix.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Biological Sciences


  • zeaxanthin, thylakoid domains, iodoacetamide, low temperature
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-48
JournalPhotosynthesis Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Publication categoryResearch