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Photosynthesis Research - Current Research Articles



Current research articles: Photosynthesis

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Photosynthesis Research - published by Springer

... is an international journal open to papers of merit dealing with both basic and applied aspects of photosynthesis.




Current articles of the journal:



Temperature dependence of in vitro Rubisco kinetics in species of Flaveria with different photosynthetic mechanisms

Abstract

There is general consensus in the literature that plants with different photosynthetic mechanisms (i.e. C3 vs. C4) have Rubiscos characterised by different kinetic performances. However, potential differences in the temperature dependencies of Rubisco kinetic parameters between C3 and C4 plants are uncertain. Accordingly, six species of Flaveria with contrasting photosynthetic mechanisms (C3, C3/C4 and C4) were selected and their Rubisco Michaelis–Menten constants for CO2 and RuBP (K c and K RuBP), carboxylase catalytic turnover rate ( \({k_{\text{cat}}}^{\text{c}}\) ) and CO2/O2 specificity factor (S c/o) were measured between 10 and 40 °C. The results confirmed different Rubisco characteristics between C3 and C4 plants. Rubisco from the C3 species had higher E a for K c and \({k_{\text{cat}}}^{\text{c}}\) than that from C4 species, which were translated into differences in the temperature response of the carboxylase catalytic efficiency ( \({k_{\text{cat}}}^{\text{c}}\) /K c). However, E a did not differ for S c/o or K RuBP. Although a mechanism remains uncertain, it appears that the Asp/Glu-149-Ala and Met-309-Ile substitutions lead to differences in the temperature responses of catalysis between C3 and C4 Rubiscos in Flaveria. Therefore, the above observations are consistent with the fact that C3 species have a higher photosynthetic efficiency and ecological dominance in cool environments, with respect to C4 species in temperate environments.

Posted on 1 April 2015 | 2:00 am


Brighter than the sun: Rajni Govindjee at 80 and her fifty years in photobiology

Abstract

We celebrate distinguished photobiologist Rajni Govindjee for her pioneering research in photosynthesis and retinal proteins on the occasion of her 80th birthday.

Posted on 1 April 2015 | 2:00 am


The roles of C-terminal residues on the thermal stability and local heme environment of cytochrome c’ from the thermophilic purple sulfur bacterium Thermochromatium tepidum

Abstract

A soluble cytochrome (Cyt) c’ from thermophilic purple sulfur photosynthetic bacterium Thermochromatium (Tch.) tepidum exhibits marked thermal tolerance compared with that from the closely related mesophilic counterpart Allochromatium vinosum. Here, we focused on the difference in the C-terminal region of the two Cyts c’ and examined the effects of D131 and R129 mutations on the thermal stability and local heme environment of Cyt c’ by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and resonance Raman (RR) spectroscopy. In the oxidized forms, D131K and D131G mutants exhibited denaturing temperatures significantly lower than that of the recombinant control Cyt c’. In contrast, R129K and R129A mutants denatured at nearly identical temperatures with the control Cyt c’, indicating that the C-terminal D131 is an important residue maintaining the enhanced thermal stability of Tch. tepidum Cyt c’. The control Cyt c’ and all of the mutants increased their thermal stability upon the reduction. Interestingly, D131K exhibited narrow DSC curves and unusual thermodynamic parameters in both redox states. The RR spectra of the control Cyt c’ exhibited characteristic bands at 1,635 and 1,625 cm?1, ascribed to intermediate spin (IS) and high spin (HS) states, respectively. The IS/HS distribution was differently affected by the D131 and R129 mutations and pH changes. Furthermore, R129 mutants suggested the lowering of their redox potentials. These results strongly indicate that the D131 and R129 residues play significant roles in maintaining the thermal stability and modulating the local heme environment of Tch. tepidum Cyt c’.

Posted on 1 April 2015 | 2:00 am


Electron transport kinetics in the diazotrophic cyanobacterium Trichodesmium spp. grown across a range of light levels

Abstract

The diazotrophic cyanobacterium Trichodesmium is a major contributor to marine nitrogen fixation. We analyzed how light acclimation influences the photophysiological performance of Trichodesmium IMS101 during exponential growth in semi-continuous nitrogen fixing cultures under light levels of 70, 150, 250, and 400 ?mol photons m?2 s?1, across diel cycles. There were close correlations between growth rate, trichome length, particulate organic carbon and nitrogen assimilation, and cellular absorbance, which all peaked at 150 ?mol photons m?2 s?1. Growth rate was light saturated by about 100 ?mol photons m?2 s?1 and was photoinhibited above 150 ?mol photons m?2 s?1. In contrast, the light level (I k) to saturate PSII electron transport (e ?  PSII?1 s?1) was much higher, in the range of 450–550 ?mol photons m?2 s?1, and increased with growth light. Growth rate correlates with the absorption cross section as well as with absorbed photons per cell, but not to electron transport per PSII; this disparity suggests that numbers of PSII in a cell, along with the energy allocation between two photosystems and the state transition mechanism underlie the changes in growth rates. The rate of state transitions after a transfer to darkness increased with growth light, indicating faster respiratory input into the intersystem electron transport chain.

Posted on 1 April 2015 | 2:00 am


How do surrounding environments influence the electronic and vibrational properties of spheroidene?

Abstract

Absorption and Raman spectra of spheroidene dissolved in various organic solvents and bound to peripheral light-harvesting LH2 complexes from photosynthetic purple bacteria Rhodobacter (Rba.) sphaeroides 2.4.1 were measured. The results showed that the peak energies of absorption and C–C and C=C stretching Raman lines are linearly proportional to the polarizability of solvents, as has already been reported. When comparing these results with those measured on LH2 complexes, it was confirmed that spheroidene is surrounded by a media with high polarizability. However, the change in the spectral width of the Raman lines, which reflect vibrational decay time, cannot be explained simply by a similar dependence of solvent polarizability. The experimental results were analyzed using a potential theoretical model. Consequently, a systematic change in the Raman line widths in the ground state can be satisfactorily explained as a function of the viscosity of the surrounding media. Even when the absorption peaks appear at the same energy, the vibrational decay time of spheroidene in the LH2 complexes is approximately 15–20 % slower than that in organic solvents.

Posted on 1 April 2015 | 2:00 am


A kinetic model for estimating net photosynthetic rates of cos lettuce leaves under pulsed light

Abstract

Time-averaged net photosynthetic rate (P n) under pulsed light (PL) is known to be affected by the PL frequency and duty ratio, even though the time-averaged photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) is unchanged. This phenomenon can be explained by considering that photosynthetic intermediates (PIs) are pooled during light periods and then consumed by partial photosynthetic reactions during dark periods. In this study, we developed a kinetic model to estimate P n of cos lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. var. longifolia) leaves under PL based on the dynamics of the amount of pooled PIs. The model inputs are average PPFD, duty ratio, and frequency; the output is P n. The rates of both PI accumulation and consumption at a given moment are assumed to be dependent on the amount of pooled PIs at that point. Required model parameters and three explanatory variables (average PPFD, frequency, and duty ratio) were determined for the simulation using P n values under PL based on several combinations of the three variables. The model simulation for various PL levels with a wide range of time-averaged PPFDs, frequencies, and duty ratios further demonstrated that P n under PL with high frequencies and duty ratios was comparable to, but did not exceed, P n under continuous light, and also showed that P n under PL decreased as either frequency or duty ratio was decreased. The developed model can be used to estimate P n under various light environments where PPFD changes cyclically.

Posted on 1 April 2015 | 2:00 am


The arc mutants of Arabidopsis with fewer large chloroplasts have a lower mesophyll conductance

Abstract

Photosynthetic cells of most land plant lineages have numerous small chloroplasts even though most algae, and even the early diverging land plant group the hornworts, tend to have one or a few large chloroplasts. One constraint that small chloroplasts could improve is the resistance to CO2 diffusion from the atmosphere to the chloroplast stroma. We examined the mesophyll conductance (inverse of the diffusion resistance) of mutant Arabidopsis thaliana plants with one or only a few large chloroplasts per cell. The accumulation and replication of chloroplasts (arc) mutants of A. thaliana were studied by model fitting to gas exchange data and 13CO2 discrimination during carbon fixation. The two methods generally agreed, but the value of the CO2 compensation point of Rubisco (? *) used in the model had a large impact on the estimated photosynthetic parameters, including mesophyll conductance. We found that having only a few large chloroplasts per cell resulted in a 25–50 % reduction in the mesophyll conductance at ambient CO2.

Posted on 1 April 2015 | 2:00 am


Metal ion oxidation state assignment based on coordinating ligand hyperfine interaction

Abstract

In exchange-coupled mixed-valence spin systems, the magnitude and sign of the effective ligand hyperfine interaction (HFI) can be useful in determining the formal oxidation state of the coordinating metal ion, as well as provide information about the coordination geometry. This is due to the fact that the observed ligand HFI is a function of the projection factor (Clebsch-Gordon coefficient) that maps the site spin value S i of the local paramagnetic center onto the total spin of the exchange-coupled system, S T. Recently, this relationship has been successfully exploited in identifying the oxidation state of the Mn ion coordinated by the sole nitrogenous ligand to the oxygen-evolving complex in certain states of photosystem II. The origin and evolution of these efforts is described.

Posted on 1 April 2015 | 2:00 am


Small subunit of a cold-resistant plant, timothy, does not significantly alter the catalytic properties of Rubisco in transgenic rice

Abstract

Effects of overexpression of high activity-type Rubisco small subunit (RbcS) from a cold-resistant plant, timothy (Phleum pratense), on kinetic properties of Rubisco were studied in rice (Oryza sativa). The full-length mRNA sequence of timothy RbcS (PpRbcS1) was determined by 5?RACE and 3?RACE. The coding sequence of PpRbcS1 was fused to the chlorophyll a/b-binding protein promoter and introduced into rice. PpRbcS was highly expressed in leaf blade and accounted for approximately 30 % of total RbcS in homozygous transgenic lines. However, the catalytic turnover rate and K m for CO2 of Rubisco did not significantly change in these transgenic lines compared to non-transgenic rice, suggesting that PpRbcS1 is not effective for improvement of catalytic efficiency of rice Rubisco. The photosynthetic rate and growth were essentially unchanged, whereas the photosynthetic rate at low CO2 condition was marginally increased in transgenic lines. Rubisco content was significantly increased, whereas soluble protein, nitrogen, and chlorophyll contents were unchanged in transgenic lines compared to non-transgenic rice. Because the kinetic properties were similar, observed slight increase in photosynthetic rate at low CO2 is considered to be large due to increase in Rubisco content in transgenic lines. Introduction of foreign RbcS is an effective approach for the improvement of Rubisco kinetics and photosynthesis. However, in this study, it was suggested that RbcS of high activity-type Rubisco, even showing higher amino acid identity with rice RbcS, did not always enhance the catalytic turnover rate of Rubisco in rice. Thus, we should carefully select RbcS to be overexpressed before introduction.

Posted on 1 April 2015 | 2:00 am


Fluorescence relaxation in intact cells of photosynthetic bacteria: donor and acceptor side limitations of reopening of the reaction center

Abstract

The dark relaxation of the yield of variable BChl fluorescence in the 10?5–10 s time range is measured after laser diode (808 nm) excitation of variable duration in intact cells of photosynthetic bacteria Rba. sphaeroides, Rsp. rubrum, and Rvx. gelatinosus under various treatments of redox agents, inhibitors, and temperature. The kinetics of the relaxation is complex and much wider extended than a monoexponential function. The longer is the excitation, the slower is the relaxation which is determined by the redox states, sizes, and accessibility of the pools of cytochrome \(c_{2}^{2+}\) and quinone for donor and acceptor side-limited bacterial strains, respectively. The kinetics of fluorescence decay reflects the opening kinetics of the closed RC. The relaxation is controlled preferentially by the rate of re-reduction of the oxidized dimer by mobile cytochrome \(c_{2}^{2+}\) in Rba. sphaeroides and Rsp. rubrum and by the rate constant of the \({\rm{Q}}_{\rm{A}}^{-}\) interquinone electron transfer, (350 ?s)?1 and/or the quinol/quinone exchange at the acceptor side in Rvx. gelatinosus. The commonly used acceptor side inhibitors (e.g., terbutryn) demonstrate kinetically limited block of re-oxidation of the primary quinone. The observations are interpreted in frame of a minimum kinetic and energetic model of electron transfer reactions in bacterial RC of intact cells.

Posted on 1 April 2015 | 2:00 am


A simple routine for quantitative analysis of light and dark kinetics of photochemical and non-photochemical quenching of chlorophyll fluorescence in intact leaves

Abstract

Paper describes principles and application of a novel routine that enables the quantitative analysis of the photochemical O–J phase of the variable fluorescence F v associated with the reversible photo-reduction of the secondary electron acceptor QA of photosystem II (PSII) in algae and intact leaves. The kinetic parameters that determine the variable fluorescence F PP(t) associated with the release of photochemical quenching are estimated from 10 µs time-resolved light-on and light-off responses of F v induced by two subsequent light pulses of 0.25 (default) and 1000 ms duration, respectively. Application of these pulses allows estimations of (i) the actual value of the rate constants k L and k AB of the light excitation (photoreduction of QA) and of the dark re-oxidation of photoreduced QA ( \({\text{Q}}_{\text{A}}^{ - }\) ), respectively, (ii) the actual maximal normalized variable fluorescence [nF v] associated with 100 % photoreduction of QA of open RCs, and (iii) the actual size ? of RCs in which the re-oxidation of \({\text{Q}}_{\text{A}}^{ - }\) is largely suppressed (QB-nonreducing RC with k AB ~ 0). The rate constants of the dark reversion of Fv associated with the release of photo-electrochemical quenching F PE and photo-electric stimulation F CET in the successive J–I and I–P parts of the thermal phase are in the range of (100 ms)?1 and (1 s)?1, respectively. The kinetics of fluorescence changes during and after the I–P phase are given special attention in relation to the hypothesis on the involvement of a ?µ H+-dependent effect during this phase and thereafter. Paper closes with author’s personal view on the demands that should be fulfilled for chlorophyll fluorescence methods being a correct and unchallenged signature of photosynthesis in algae and plants.

Posted on 1 April 2015 | 2:00 am


Role of electron transport chain of chloroplasts in oxidative burst of interaction between Erwinia amylovora and host cells

Abstract

Erwinia amylovora is a necrogenic bacterium, causing the fire blight disease on many rosaceous plants. Triggering oxidative burst by E. amylovora is a key response by which host plants try to restrain pathogen spread. Electron transport chain (ETC) of chloroplasts is known as an inducible source of reactive oxygen species generation in various stresses. This research was performed to assess the role of this ETC in E. amylovora–host interaction using several inhibitors of this chain in susceptible and resistant apple and pear genotypes. All ETC inhibitors delayed appearance of disease necrosis, but the effects of methyl viologen, glutaraldehyde, and DCMU were more significant. In the absence of inhibitors, resistant genotypes showed an earlier and severe H2O2 generation and early suppression of redox dependent, psbA gene. The effects of inhibitors were corresponding to the redox potential of ETC inhibitory sites. In addition, delayed necrosis appearance was associated with the decreased disease severity and delayed H2O2 generation. These results provide evidences for the involvement of this ETC in host oxidative burst and suggest that chloroplast ETC has significant role in E. amylovora–host interaction.

Posted on 28 March 2015 | 1:00 am


Multiple copies of the PsbQ protein in a cyanobacterial photosystem II assembly intermediate complex

Abstract

Photosystem II (PSII) undergoes frequent damage owing to the demanding electron transfer chemistry it performs. To sustain photosynthetic activity, damaged PSII undergoes a complex repair cycle consisting of many transient intermediate complexes. By purifying PSII from the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 using a histidine-tag on the PsbQ protein, a lumenal extrinsic subunit, a novel PSII assembly intermediate was isolated in addition to the mature PSII complex. This new complex, which we refer to as PSII-Q4, contained four copies of the PsbQ protein per PSII monomer, instead of the expected one copy. In addition, PSII-Q4 lacked two other lumenal extrinsic proteins, PsbU and PsbV, which are present in the mature PSII complex. We suggest that PSII-Q4 is a late PSII assembly intermediate that is formed just before the binding of PsbU and PsbV, and we incorporate these results into an updated model of PSII assembly.

Posted on 24 March 2015 | 1:00 am


Features of temporal behavior of fluorescence recovery in Synechocystis sp. PCC6803

Abstract

Under high photon flux density of solar radiation, the photosynthetic apparatus can be damaged. To prevent this photodestruction, cyanobacteria developed special mechanisms of non-photochemical quenching (NPQ) of excitation energy in phycobilisomes. In Synechocystis, NPQ is triggered by the orange carotenoid protein (OCP), which is sensitive to blue-green illumination allowing it to bind to the phycobilisome reducing the flow of energy to the photosystems. Consequent decoupling of OCP and recovery of phycobilisome fluorescence in vivo is controlled by the so called fluorescence recovery protein (FRP). In this work, the role of the phycobilisome core components, apcD and apcF, in non-photochemical quenching and subsequent fluorescence recovery in the phycobilisomes of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC6803 has been investigated. Using a single photon counting technique, we have registered fluorescence decay spectra with picosecond time resolution during fluorescence recovery. In order to estimate the activation energy for the photocycle, spectroscopic studies in dependency on the temperature from 5 to 45 °C have been performed. It was found that fluorescence quenching and recovery were strongly temperature dependent for all strains exhibiting characteristic non-linear time courses. The rise of the fluorescence intensity during fluorescence recovery after NPQ can be completely described by the increase of the phycobilisome core fluorescence lifetime. It was shown that fluorescence recovery of apcD- and apcF-deficient mutants is characterized by a significantly lower activation energy barrier compared to wild type. This phenomenon indicates that apcD and apcF gene products may be required for proper interaction of FRP and OCP coupled to the phycobilisome core. In addition, we found that the rate of fluorescence recovery decreases with an increase of the non-photochemical quenching amplitude, probably due to depletion of substrate for the enzymatic reaction catalyzed by FRP.

Posted on 24 March 2015 | 1:00 am


Characterization of a Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 double mutant lacking the CyanoP and Ycf48 proteins of Photosystem II

Abstract

Homologs of the Photosystem II (PS II) subunit PsbP are found in plants, algae, and cyanobacteria. In higher plants, PsbP is associated with mature PS II centers, but in cyanobacteria, the homologous CyanoP protein appears sub-stoichiometric to PS II. We have investigated the role of CyanoP by characterizing knockout mutants of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803. Removal of CyanoP resulted in changes to phycobilisome coupling and energy transfer to PS II, but the function of PS II itself remained similar to wild type. We therefore investigated the hypothesis that CyanoP is involved in the biogenesis or repair of PS II by creating a double mutant lacking both CyanoP and the PS II assembly factor Ycf48. This strain exhibited an additive reduction in the amplitude of variable chlorophyll a fluorescence induction relative to either of the single mutants but displayed increased oxygen evolution, slight increases in PS II monomer and dimer levels, and a reduction in accumulation of an early PS II assembly complex containing CP47, compared to the ?Ycf48 strain.

Posted on 24 March 2015 | 1:00 am


How will climate change influence grapevine cv. Tempranillo photosynthesis under different soil textures?

Abstract

While photosynthetic responses to elevated CO2, elevated temperature, or water availability have previously been reported for grapevine as responses to single stress factors, reports on the combined effect of multiple stress factors are scarce. In the present work, we evaluated effects of simulated climate change [CC; 700 ppm CO2, 28/18 °C, and 33/53 % relative humidity (RH), day/night] versus current conditions (375 ppm CO2, 24/14 °C, and 45/65 % RH), water availability (well-irrigated vs. water deficit), and different types of soil textures (41, 19, and 8 % of soil clay contents) on grapevine (Vitis vinifera L. cv. Tempranillo) photosynthesis. Plants were grown using the fruit-bearing cutting model. CC increased the photosynthetic activity of grapevine plants grown under well-watered conditions, but such beneficial effects of elevated CO2, elevated temperature, and low RH were abolished by water deficit. Under water-deficit conditions, plants subjected to CC conditions had similar photosynthetic rates as those grown under current conditions, despite their higher sub-stomatal CO2 concentrations. As expected, water deficit reduced photosynthetic activity in association with inducing stomatal closure that prevents water loss. Evidence for photosynthetic downregulation under elevated CO2 was observed, with decreases in photosynthetic capacity and leaf N content and increases in the C/N ratio in plants subjected to CC conditions. Soil texture had no marked effects on photosynthesis and did not modify the photosynthetic response to CC and water-deficit conditions. However, in mature well-irrigated plants grown in the soils with the highest sand content, an important decrease in stomatal conductance was observed as well as a slight decrease in the utilization of absorbed light in photosynthetic electron transport (measured as photochemical quenching), possibly related to a low water-retention capacity of these soils even under well-watered conditions.

Posted on 19 March 2015 | 1:00 am


Light-harvesting regulation from leaf to molecule with the emphasis on rapid changes in antenna size

Abstract

In the sunlight-fluctuating environment, plants often encounter both light-deficiency and light-excess cases. Therefore, regulation of light harvesting is absolutely essential for photosynthesis in order to maximize light utilization at low light and avoid photodamage of the photosynthetic apparatus at high light. Plants have developed a series of strategies of light-harvesting regulation during evolution. These strategies include rapid responses such as leaf movement and chloroplast movement, state transitions, and reversible dissociation of some light-harvesting complex of the photosystem II (LHCIIs) from PSII core complexes, and slow acclimation strategies such as changes in the protein abundance of light-harvesting antenna and modifications of leaf morphology, structure, and compositions. This review discusses successively these strategies and focuses on the rapid change in antenna size, namely reversible dissociation of some peripheral light-harvesting antennas (LHCIIs) from PSII core complex. It is involved in protective role and species dependence of the dissociation, differences between the dissociation and state transitions, relationship between the dissociation and thylakoid protein phosphorylation, and possible mechanism for thermal dissipation by the dissociated LHCIIs.

Posted on 14 March 2015 | 1:00 am


Violaxanthin de-epoxidase disulphides and their role in activity and thermal stability

Abstract

Violaxanthin de-epoxidase (VDE) catalyses the conversion of violaxanthin to zeaxanthin at the lumen side of the thylakoids during exposure to intense light. VDE consists of a cysteine-rich N-terminal domain, a lipocalin-like domain and a negatively charged C-terminal domain. That the cysteines are important for the activity of VDE is well known, but in what way is less understood. In this study, wild-type spinach VDE was expressed in E. coli as inclusion bodies, refolded and purified to give a highly active and homogenous preparation. The metal content (Fe, Cu, Ni, Mn, Co and Zn) was lower than 1 mol% excluding a metal-binding function of the cysteines. To investigate which of the 13 cysteines that could be important for the function of VDE, we constructed mutants where the cysteines were replaced by serines, one by one. For 12 out of 13 mutants the activity dropped by more than 99.9 %. A quantification of free cysteines showed that only the most N-terminal of these cysteines was in reduced form in the native VDE. A disulphide pattern in VDE of C9–C27, C14–C21, C33–C50, C37–C46, C65–C72 and C118–C284 was obtained after digestion of VDE with thermolysin followed by mass spectroscopy analysis of reduced versus non-reduced samples. The residual activity found for the mutants showed a variation that was consistent with the results obtained from mass spectroscopy. Reduction of the disulphides resulted in loss of a rigid structure and a decrease in thermal stability of 15 °C.

Posted on 13 March 2015 | 1:00 am





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