Photosynthetic organisms are continuously subjected to changes in light quantity and quality, and must adjust their photosynthetic machinery so that it maintains optimal performance under limiting light and minimizes photodamage under excess light. To achieve this goal, these organisms use two main strategies in which light-harvesting complex II (LHCII), the light-harvesting system of photosystem II (PSII), plays a key role both for the collection of light energy and for photoprotection. The first is energy-dependent nonphotochemical quenching, whereby the high-light-induced proton gradient across the thylakoid membrane triggers a process in which excess excitation energy is harmlessly dissipated as heat. The second involves a redistribution of the mobile LHCII between the two photosystems in response to changes in the redox poise of the electron transport chain sensed through a signaling chain. These two processes strongly diminish the production of damaging reactive oxygen species, but photodamage of PSII is unavoidable, and it is repaired efficiently.


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