||The extrinsic photosystem II (PSII) protein of 33 kDa (PsbO), which stabilizes the water-oxidizing complex, is represented in Arabidopsis thaliana (Arabidopsis) by two isoforms. Two T-DNA insertion mutant lines deficient in either the PsbO1 or the PsbO2 protein were retarded in growth in comparison with the wild type, while differing from each other phenotypically. Both PsbO proteins were able to support the oxygen evolution activity of PSII, although PsbO2 was less efficient than PsbO1 under photoinhibitory conditions. Prolonged high light stress led to reduced growth and fitness of the mutant lacking PsbO2 as compared with the wild type and the mutant lacking PsbO1. During a short period of treatment of detached leaves or isolated thylakoids at high light levels, inactivation of PSII electron transport in the PsbO2-deficient mutant was slowed down, and the subsequent degradation of the D1 protein was totally inhibited. The steady-state levels of in vivo phosphorylation of the PSII reaction centre proteins D1 and D2 were specifically reduced in the mutant containing only PsbO2, in comparison with the mutant containing only PsbO1 or with wild-type plants. Phosphorylation of PSII proteins in vitro proceeded similarly in thylakoid membranes from both mutants and wild-type plants. However, dephosphorylation of the D1 protein occurred much faster in the thylakoids containing only PsbO2. We conclude that the function of PsbO1 in Arabidopsis is mostly in support of PSII activity, whereas the interaction of PsbO2 with PSII regulates the turnover of the D1 protein, increasing its accessibility to the phosphatases and proteases involved in its degradation.