Photosynthesis Research

Current research articles.


The journal Photosynthesis Research is an international journal dealing with both basic and applied aspects of photosynthesis. The journal publishes research at all levels of plant organization: molecular, subcellular, cellular, whole plant, canopy, ecosystem and global.

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Additional research articles see Current Chemistry Research Articles. Magazines with similar content (photosynthesis):

 - Photosynthetica.



Photosynthesis Research - Abstracts



Interactive effects of nitrogen and light on growth rates and RUBISCO content of small and large centric diatoms

Abstract

Among marine phytoplankton groups, diatoms span the widest range of cell size, with resulting effects upon their nitrogen uptake, photosynthesis and growth responses to light. We grew two strains of marine centric diatoms differing by ~4 orders of magnitude in cell biovolume in high (enriched artificial seawater with ~500 µmol L−1 µmol L−1 NO3 ) and lower-nitrogen (enriched artificial seawater with <10 µmol L−1 NO3 ) media, across a range of growth light levels. Nitrogen and total protein per cell decreased with increasing growth light in both species when grown under the lower-nitrogen media. Cells growing under lower-nitrogen media increased their cellular allocation to RUBISCO and their rate of electron transport away from PSII, for the smaller diatom under low growth light and for the larger diatom across the range of growth lights. The smaller coastal diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana is able to exploit high nitrogen in growth media by up-regulating growth rate, but the same high-nitrogen growth media inhibits growth of the larger diatom species.


Datum: 26.08.2016


Cytochrome b 6 f function and localization, phosphorylation state of thylakoid membrane proteins and consequences on cyclic electron flow

Abstract

Both the structure and the protein composition of thylakoid membranes have an impact on light harvesting and electron transfer in the photosynthetic chain. Thylakoid membranes form stacks and lamellae where photosystem II and photosystem I localize, respectively. Light-harvesting complexes II can be associated to either PSII or PSI depending on the redox state of the plastoquinone pool, and their distribution is governed by state transitions. Upon state transitions, the thylakoid ultrastructure and lateral distribution of proteins along the membrane are subject to significant rearrangements. In addition, quinone diffusion is limited to membrane microdomains and the cytochrome b 6 f complex localizes either to PSII-containing grana stacks or PSI-containing stroma lamellae. Here, we discuss possible similarities or differences between green algae and C3 plants on the functional consequences of such heterogeneities in the photosynthetic electron transport chain and propose a model in which quinones, accepting electrons either from PSII (linear flow) or NDH/PGR pathways (cyclic flow), represent a crucial control point. Our aim is to give an integrated description of these processes and discuss their potential roles in the balance between linear and cyclic electron flows.


Datum: 17.08.2016


Influence of light and nitrogen on the photosynthetic efficiency in the C 4 plant Miscanthus  ×  giganteus

Abstract

There are numerous studies describing how growth conditions influence the efficiency of C4 photosynthesis. However, it remains unclear how changes in the biochemical capacity versus leaf anatomy drives this acclimation. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine how growth light and nitrogen availability influence leaf anatomy, biochemistry and the efficiency of the CO2 concentrating mechanism in Miscanthus × giganteus. There was an increase in the mesophyll cell wall surface area but not cell well thickness in the high-light (HL) compared to the low-light (LL) grown plants suggesting a higher mesophyll conductance in the HL plants, which also had greater photosynthetic capacity. Additionally, the HL plants had greater surface area and thickness of bundle-sheath cell walls compared to LL plants, suggesting limited differences in bundle-sheath CO2 conductance because the increased area was offset by thicker cell walls. The gas exchange estimates of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPc) activity were significantly less than the in vitro PEPc activity, suggesting limited substrate availability in the leaf due to low mesophyll CO2 conductance. Finally, leakiness was similar across all growth conditions and generally did not change under the different measurement light conditions. However, differences in the stable isotope composition of leaf material did not correlate with leakiness indicating that dry matter isotope measurements are not a good proxy for leakiness. Taken together, these data suggest that the CO2 concentrating mechanism in Miscanthus is robust under low-light and limited nitrogen growth conditions, and that the observed changes in leaf anatomy and biochemistry likely help to maintain this efficiency.


Datum: 16.08.2016


A two-component nonphotochemical fluorescence quenching in eustigmatophyte algae

Abstract

Eustigmatophyte algae represent an interesting model system for the study of the regulation of the excitation energy flow due to their use of violaxanthin both as a major light-harvesting pigment and as the basis of xanthophyll cycle. Fluorescence induction kinetics was studied in an oleaginous marine alga Nannochloropsis oceanica. Nonphotochemical fluorescence quenching was analyzed in detail with respect to the state of the cellular xanthophyll pool. Two components of nonphotochemical fluorescence quenching (NPQ), both dependent on the presence of zeaxanthin, were clearly resolved, denoted as slow and fast NPQ based on kinetics of their formation. The slow component was shown to be in direct proportion to the amount of zeaxanthin, while the fast NPQ component was transiently induced in the presence of membrane potential on subsecond timescales. The applicability of these observations to other eustigmatophyte species is demonstrated by measurements of other representatives of this algal group, both marine and freshwater.


Datum: 02.08.2016


Transcriptomic analysis illuminates genes involved in chlorophyll synthesis after nitrogen starvation in Acaryochloris sp. CCMEE 5410

Abstract

Acaryochloris species are a genus of cyanobacteria that utilize chlorophyll (chl) d as their primary chlorophyll molecule during oxygenic photosynthesis. Chl d allows Acaryochloris to harvest red-shifted light, which gives them the ability to live in filtered light environments that are depleted in visible light. Although genomes of multiple Acaryochloris species have been sequenced, their analysis has not revealed how chl d is synthesized. Here, we demonstrate that Acaryochloris sp. CCMEE 5410 cells undergo chlorosis by nitrogen depletion and exhibit robust regeneration of chl d by nitrogen repletion. We performed a time course RNA-Seq experiment to quantify global transcriptomic changes during chlorophyll recovery. We observed upregulation of numerous known chl biosynthesis genes and also identified an oxygenase gene with a similar transcriptional profile as these chl biosynthesis genes, suggesting its possible involvement in chl d biosynthesis. Moreover, our data suggest that multiple prochlorophyte chlorophyll-binding homologs are important during chlorophyll recovery, and light-independent chl synthesis genes are more dominant than the light-dependent gene at the transcription level. Transcriptomic characterization of this organism provides crucial clues toward mechanistic elucidation of chl d biosynthesis.


Datum: 01.08.2016


Gernot Renger (1937–2013): his life, Max-Volmer Laboratory, and photosynthesis research

Abstract

Gernot Renger (October 23, 1937–January 12, 2013), one of the leading biophysicists in the field of photosynthesis research, studied and worked at the Max-Volmer-Institute (MVI) of the Technische Universität Berlin, Germany, for more than 50 years, and thus witnessed the rise and decline of photosynthesis research at this institute, which at its prime was one of the leading centers in this field. We present a tribute to Gernot Renger’s work and life in the context of the history of photosynthesis research of that period, with special focus on the MVI. Gernot will be remembered for his thought-provoking questions and his boundless enthusiasm for science.


Datum: 01.08.2016


Chloroplast avoidance movement as a sensitive indicator of relative water content during leaf desiccation in the dark

Abstract

In the context of global climate change, drought is one of the major stress factors with negative effect on photosynthesis and plant productivity. Currently, chlorophyll fluorescence parameters are widely used as indicators of plant stress, mainly owing to the rapid, non-destructive and simple measurements this technique allows. However, these parameters have been shown to have limited sensitivity for the monitoring of water deficit as leaf desiccation has relatively small effect on photosystem II photochemistry. In this study, we found that blue light-induced increase in leaf transmittance reflecting chloroplast avoidance movement was much more sensitive to a decrease in relative water content (RWC) than chlorophyll fluorescence parameters in dark-desiccating leaves of tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.) and barley (Hordeum vulgare L.). Whereas the inhibition of chloroplast avoidance movement was detectable in leaves even with a small RWC decrease, the chlorophyll fluorescence parameters (F V/F M, V J, Ф PSII, NPQ) changed markedly only when RWC dropped below 70 %. For this reason, we propose light-induced chloroplast avoidance movement as a sensitive indicator of the decrease in leaf RWC. As our measurement of chloroplast movement using collimated transmittance is simple and non-destructive, it may be more suitable in some cases for the detection of plant stresses including water deficit than the conventionally used chlorophyll fluorescence methods.


Datum: 01.08.2016


Cyanobacterial ultrastructure in light of genomic sequence data

Abstract

Cyanobacteria are physiologically and morphologically diverse photosynthetic microbes that play major roles in the carbon and nitrogen cycles of the biosphere. Recently, they have gained attention as potential platforms for the production of biofuels and other renewable chemicals. Many cyanobacteria were characterized morphologically prior to the advent of genome sequencing. Here, we catalog cyanobacterial ultrastructure within the context of genomic sequence information, including high-magnification transmission electron micrographs that represent the diversity in cyanobacterial morphology. We place the image data in the context of tabulated protein domains—which are the structural, functional, and evolutionary units of proteins—from the 126 cyanobacterial genomes comprising the CyanoGEBA dataset. In particular, we identify the correspondence between ultrastructure and the occurrence of genes encoding protein domains related to the formation of cyanobacterial inclusions. This compilation of images and genome-level domain occurrence will prove useful for a variety of analyses of cyanobacterial sequence data and provides a guidebook to morphological features.


Datum: 01.08.2016


The effects of CO 2 and nutrient fertilisation on the growth and temperature response of the mangrove Avicennia germinans

Abstract

In order to understand plant responses to both the widespread phenomenon of increased nutrient inputs to coastal zones and the concurrent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentrations, CO2–nutrient interactions need to be considered. In addition to its potential stimulating effect on photosynthesis and growth, elevated CO2 affects the temperature response of photosynthesis. The scarcity of experiments testing how elevated CO2 affects the temperature response of tropical trees hinders our ability to model future primary productivity. In a glasshouse study, we examined the effects of elevated CO2 (800 ppm) and nutrient availability on seedlings of the widespread mangrove Avicennia germinans. We assessed photosynthetic performance, the temperature response of photosynthesis, seedling growth and biomass allocation. We found large synergistic gains in both growth (42 %) and photosynthesis (115 %) when seedlings grown under elevated CO2 were supplied with elevated nutrient concentrations relative to their ambient growing conditions. Growth was significantly enhanced under elevated CO2 only under high-nutrient conditions, mainly in above-ground tissues. Under low-nutrient conditions and elevated CO2, root volume was more than double that of seedlings grown under ambient CO2 levels. Elevated CO2 significantly increased the temperature optimum for photosynthesis by ca. 4 °C. Rising CO2 concentrations are likely to have a significant positive effect on the growth rate of A. germinans over the next century, especially in areas where nutrient availability is high.


Datum: 01.08.2016


Mechanisms that increase the growth efficiency of diatoms in low light

Abstract

Photoacclimation was studied in Thalassiosira pseudonana to help understand mechanisms underlying the success of diatoms in low-light environments, such as coastal and deep mixing ecosystems. Light harvesting and other cell characteristics were combined with oxygen and carbon production measurements to assess the water-splitting reaction at PSII ( \({\text{GPP}}_{{{\text{O}}_{2} }}\) ) and intermediate steps leading to net carbon production (NPPC). These measurements revealed that T. pseudonana is remarkably efficient at converting harvested light energy into biomass, with at least 57 % of \({\text{GPP}}_{{{\text{O}}_{2} }}\) retained as NPPC across all light-limited growth rates examined. Evidence for upregulation of ATP generation pathways that circumvent carbon fixation indicated that high growth efficiency at low light levels was at least partly due to increases in the efficiency of ATP production. Growth rate-dependent demands for ATP and NADPH were reflected in carbon composition and in unexpected shifts in the light-limited slope (α) of photosynthesis–irradiance relationships generated from chlorophyll-specific 14C-uptake. Overall, these results suggest that pathway gating of carbon and energy flow depends on light availability and is a key factor promoting the efficiency of diatom growth at low light intensities.


Datum: 01.08.2016


Remembering Joan (Jan) Mary Anderson (1932–2015)

Abstract

Joan Mary Anderson, known to most people as Jan, was born on May 12, 1932 in Dunedin, New Zealand. She died on August 28, 2015 in Canberra, Australia. To celebrate her life, we present here a brief biography, some comments on her discoveries in photosynthesis during a career spanning more than half a century, and reminiscences from family and friends. We remember this wonderful person who had an unflagging curiosity, creative ability to think laterally, enthusiasm, passion, generosity and love of color and culture.


Datum: 01.08.2016


Bacteriopheophytin triplet state in Rhodobacter sphaeroides reaction centers

Abstract

It is well established that photoexcitation of Rhodobacter sphaeroides reaction centers (RC) with reduced quinone acceptors results in the formation of a triplet state localized on the primary electron donor P with a significant yield. The energy of this long-lived and therefore potentially damaging excited state is then efficiently quenched by energy transfer to the RC spheroidenone carotenoid, with its subsequent decay to the ground state by intersystem crossing. In this contribution, we present a detailed transient absorption study of triplet states in a set of mutated RCs characterized by different efficiencies of triplet formation that correlate with lifetimes of the initial charge-separated state P+H A . On a microsecond time scale, two types of triplet state were detected: in addition to the well-known spheroidenone triplet state with a lifetime of ~4 μs, in some RCs we discovered a bacteriopheophytin triplet state with a lifetime of ~40 μs. As expected, the yield of the carotenoid triplet increased approximately linearly with the lifetime of P+H A , reaching the value of 42 % for one of the mutants. However, surprisingly, the yield of the bacteriopheophytin triplet was the highest in RCs with the shortest P+H A lifetime and the smallest yield of carotenoid triplet. For these the estimated yield of bacteriopheophytin triplet was comparable with the yield of the carotenoid triplet, reaching a value of ~7 %. Possible mechanisms of formation of the bacteriopheophytin triplet state are discussed.


Datum: 01.08.2016


A polymorphism in the oxygen-responsive repressor PpsR2 confers a growth advantage to Rhodopseudomonas palustris under low light

Abstract

The purple nonsulfur bacterium Rhodopseudomonas palustris grows aerobically using oxidative phosphorylation or anaerobically using photophosphorylation. The oxygen-responsive transcription regulator, PpsR2, regulates the transition to a phototrophic lifestyle by repressing transcription of photosynthesis genes during aerobic growth. Whereas most R. palustris strains have an arginine (Arg) at position 439 in the helix-turn-helix DNA-binding domain of this protein, some strains, including the well-studied strain CGA009, have a cysteine (Cys) at this position. Using allelic exchange, we found that the Cys439 in PpsR2 resulted in increased pigmentation and photosynthetic gene expression under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions. The Cys439 substitution also conferred a growth advantage to R. palustris at low light intensities. This indicates that variation in the PpsR2 protein results in R. palustris strains that have two different thresholds for derepressing photosynthesis genes in response to oxygen and light.


Datum: 01.08.2016


Differences in photosynthetic syndromes of four halophytic marsh grasses in Pakistan

Abstract

Salt-tolerant grasses of warm sub-tropical ecosystems differ in their distribution patterns with respect to salinity and moisture regimes. Experiments were conducted on CO2 fixation and light harvesting processes of four halophytic C4 grasses grown under different levels of salinity (0, 200 and 400 mM NaCl) under ambient environmental conditions. Two species were from a high saline coastal marsh (Aeluropus lagopoides and Sporobolus tremulus) and two were from a moderate saline sub-coastal draw-down tidal marsh (Paspalum paspalodes and Paspalidium geminatum). Analyses of the carbon isotope ratios of leaf biomass in plants indicated that carbon assimilation was occurring by C4 photosynthesis in all species during growth under varying levels of salinity. In the coastal species, with increasing salinity, there was a parallel decrease in rates of CO2 fixation (A), transpiration (E) and stomatal conductance (g s), with no effect on water use efficiency (WUE). These species were adapted for photoprotection by an increase in the Mehler reaction with an increase in activity of PSII/CO2 fixed accompanied by high levels of antioxidant enzymes, superoxide dismutase and ascorbate peroxidase. The sub-coastal species P. paspalodes and P. geminatum had high levels of carotenoid pigments and non-photochemical quenching by the xanthophyll cycle.


Datum: 23.07.2016


Photoacclimation of photosynthesis in the Eustigmatophycean Nannochloropsis gaditana

Abstract

Nannochloropsis is an eukaryotic alga of the phylum Heterokonta, originating from a secondary endosymbiotic event. In this work, we investigated how the photosynthetic apparatus responds to growth in different light regimes in Nannochloropsis gaditana. We found that intense illumination induces the decrease of both photosystem I and II contents and their respective antenna sizes. Cells grown in high light showed a larger capacity for electron transport, with enhanced cyclic electron transport around photosystem I, contributing to photoprotection from excess illumination. Even when exposed to excess light intensities for several days, N. gaditana cells did not activate constitutive responses such as nonphotochemical quenching and the xanthophyll cycle. These photoprotection mechanisms in N. gaditana thus play a role in acclimation to fast changes in illumination within a time range of minutes, while regulation of the electron flow capacity represents a long-term response to prolonged exposure to excess light.


Datum: 22.07.2016


Essential role of the PSI–LHCII supercomplex in photosystem acclimation to light and/or heat conditions by state transitions

Abstract

Light and temperature affect state transitions through changes in the plastoquinone (PQ) redox state in photosynthetic organisms. We demonstrated that light and/or heat treatment induced preferential photosystem (PS) I excitation by binding light-harvesting complex II (LHCII) proteins. The photosystem of wheat was in state 1 after dark overnight treatment, wherein PQ was oxidized and most of LHCII was not bound to PSI. At the onset of the light treatment [25 °C in the light (100 µmol photons m−2 s−1)], two major LHCIIs, Lhcb1 and Lhcb2 were phosphorylated, and the PSI–LHCII supercomplex formed within 5 min, which coincided with an increase in the PQ oxidation rate. Heat treatment at 40 °C of light-adapted wheat led to further LHCII protein phosphorylation of, resultant cyclic electron flow promotion, which was accompanied by ultrafast excitation of PSI and structural changes of thylakoid membranes, thereby protecting PSII from heat damage. These results suggest that LHCIIs are required for the functionality of wheat plant PSI, as it keeps PQ oxidized by regulating photochemical electron flow, thereby helping acclimation to environmental changes.


Datum: 18.07.2016


Metabolism of xenobiotics by Chlamydomonas reinhardtii : Phenol degradation under conditions affecting photosynthesis

Abstract

In the present work, the biodegradation of phenol by axenic cultures of the unicellular microalga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii was investigated. Biodegradation proved to be a dynamic bioenergetic process, affected by changes in the culture conditions. Microalgae biodegraded defined amounts of phenol, as a result of the induced stress caused at high concentrations, despite the fact that this process proved to be energy demanding and thus affected growth of the culture. High levels of biodegradation were observed both in the absence of an alternative carbon source and in the presence of acetate as a carbon source. Biodegradation of phenol by Chlamydomonas proved to be an aerobic, photoregulated process. This is the first time that Chlamydomonas reinhardtii has been used for bioremediation purposes. This study has demonstrated that the most important factor in the biodegradation of phenol is the selection of the appropriate culture conditions (presence or absence of alternative carbon source, light intensity, and oxygen availability) that provide the best bioenergetic balance among growth, induced stress, and biodegradation of phenol.


Datum: 15.07.2016


Role of isopentenyl-diphosphate isomerase in heterologous cyanobacterial ( Synechocystis ) isoprene production

Abstract

Heterologous production of isoprene (C5H8) hydrocarbons in cyanobacteria, emanating from sunlight, CO2, and water, is now attracting increasing attention. The concept entails application of an isoprene synthase transgene from terrestrial plants, heterologously expressed in cyanobacteria, aiming to reprogram carbon flux in the terpenoid biosynthetic pathway toward formation and spontaneous release of this volatile chemical from the cell and liquid culture. However, flux manipulations and carbon-partitioning reactions between isoprene (the product) and native terpenoid biosynthesis for cellular needs are not yet optimized for isoprene yield. The primary reactant for isoprene biosynthesis is dimethylallyl diphosphate (DMAPP), whereas both DMAPP and its isopentenyl diphosphate (IPP) isomer are needed for cellular terpenoid biosynthesis. The present work addressed the function of an isopentenyl diphosphate (IPP) isomerase in cyanobacteria and its role in carbon partitioning between IPP and DMAPP, both of which serve, in variable ratios, as reactants for the synthesis of different cellular terpenoids. The work was approached upon the heterologous expression in Synechocystis of the “isopentenyl diphosphate isomerase” gene (FNI) from Streptococcus pneumoniae, using isoprene production as a “reporter process” for substrate partitioning between DMAPP and IPP. It is shown that transgenic expression of the FNI gene in Synechocystis resulted in a 250 % increase in the “reporter isoprene” rate and yield, suggesting that the FNI isomerase shifted the endogenous DMAPP-IPP steady-state pool size toward DMAPP, thereby enhancing rates and yield of isoprene production. The work provides insight into the significance and functional role of the IPP isomerase in these photosynthetic microorganisms.


Datum: 13.07.2016


The plastoquinol–plastoquinone exchange mechanism in photosystem II: insight from molecular dynamics simulations

Abstract

In the photosystem II (PSII) of oxygenic photosynthetic organisms, the reaction center (RC) core mediates the light-induced electron transfer leading to water splitting and production of reduced plastoquinone molecules. The reduction of plastoquinone to plastoquinol lowers PSII affinity for the latter and leads to its release. However, little is known about the role of protein dynamics in this process. Here, molecular dynamics simulations of the complete PSII complex embedded in a lipid bilayer have been used to investigate the plastoquinol release mechanism. A distinct dynamic behavior of PSII in the presence of plastoquinol is observed which, coupled to changes in charge distribution and electrostatic interactions, causes disruption of the interactions seen in the PSII–plastoquinone complex and leads to the “squeezing out” of plastoquinol from the binding pocket. Displacement of plastoquinol closes the second water channel, recently described in a 2.9 Å resolution PSII structure (Guskov et al. in Nat Struct Mol Biol 16:334–342, 2009), allowing to rule out the proposed “alternating” mechanism of plastoquinol–plastoquinone exchange, while giving support to the “single-channel” one. The performed simulations indicated a pivotal role of D1-Ser264 in modulating the dynamics of the plastoquinone binding pocket and plastoquinol–plastoquinone exchange via its interaction with D1-His252 residue. The effects of the disruption of this hydrogen bond network on the PSII redox reactions were experimentally assessed in the D1 site-directed mutant Ser264Lys.


Datum: 04.07.2016


In photosynthesis, oxygen comes from water: from a 1787 book for women by Monsieur De Fourcroy

Abstract

It is now well established that the source of oxygen in photosynthesis is water. The earliest suggestion previously known to us had come from René Bernard Wurmser (1930). Here, we highlight an earlier report by Monsieur De Fourcroy (1787), who had already discussed the broad outlines of such a hypothesis in a book on Chemistry written for women. We present here a free translation of a passage from this book, with the original text in French as an Appendix.


Datum: 01.07.2016






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