Photosynthesis Research (v.137, #3)

Remembering Otto Kandler (1920–2017) and his contributions by Govindjee; Widmar Tanner (337-340).
After a brief prologue on Otto Kandler’s life, we describe briefly his pioneering work on photosynthesis (photophosphorylation and the carbon cycle) and his key participation in the discovery of the concept of three forms of life (Archaea, Prokarya, and Eukarya). With Otto Kandler’s passing, both the international photosynthesis and microbiology communities have lost an internationally unique, eminent, and respected researcher and teacher who exhibited a rare vibrancy and style.
Keywords: Archaea; Carbon reactions; Photophosphorylation in vivo; Three forms of life; Carl Woese

In memory of Achim Trebst (1929–2017): a pioneer of photosynthesis research by Hermann Bothe; Thomas Happe; Simon Trebst; Matthias Rögner (341-359).
The life and work of Achim Trebst (1929–2017) was dedicated to photosynthesis, involving a wide span of seminal contributions which cumulated in more than five decades of active research: Major topics include the separation of light and dark phases in photosynthesis, the elucidation of photosynthesis by the use of inhibitors, the identification of the three-dimensional structure of photosystem II and its degradation, and an explanation of singlet oxygen formation. For this tribute, which has been initiated by Govindjee, twenty-two personal tributes by former coworkers, scientific friends, and his family have been compiled and combined with an introduction tracing the different stages of Achim Trebst’s scientific life.
Keywords: Photosynthetic electron transport; Light and dark phases; Inhibitors; Photosystem II; Singlet oxygen

Remembering George Feher (1924–2017) by Melvin Y. Okamura; Wolfgang Lubitz; James P. Allen (361-375).
We provide a tribute to George Feher, one of the founding scientists in the use of biophysical techniques to probe photosynthetic complexes, especially the bacterial reaction center. His early life is briefly reviewed followed by a description of the impact of his 30 years of photosynthesis research. We describe his pioneering work in bacterial photosynthesis that helped to provide a detailed picture of the molecular events responsible for light energy capture and the subsequent electron and proton transfer events in photosynthetic organisms. These studies had a profound and lasting impact on our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of photosynthesis. We also include some personal comments from his former students and colleagues.
Keywords: Photosynthetic bacteria; Reaction centers; Rhodobacter sphaeroides ; Electron paramagnetic resonance; Electron-nuclear double resonance; Electron transfer; Proton transfer

Photoacclimation by strains of Haslea “blue” diatom species H. ostrearia and H. silbo sp. nov. ined. was investigated with rapid light curves and induction–recovery curves using fast repetition rate fluorescence. Cultures were grown to exponential phase under 50 µmol m−2 s−1 photosynthetic available radiation (PAR) and then exposed to non-sequential rapid light curves where, once electron transport rate (ETR) had reached saturation, light intensity was decreased and then further increased prior to returning to near growth light intensity. The non-sequential rapid light curve revealed that ETR was not proportional to the instantaneously applied light intensity, due to rapid photoacclimation. Changes in the effective absorption cross sections for open PSII reaction centres (σPSII′) or reaction centre connectivity (ρ) did not account for the observed increases in ETR under extended high light. σPSII′ in fact decreased as a function of a time-dependent induction of regulated excitation dissipation Y(NPQ), once cells were at or above a PAR coinciding with saturation of ETR. Instead, the observed increases in ETR under extended high light were explained by an increase in the rate of PSII reopening, i.e. QA oxidation. This acceleration of electron transport was strictly light dependent and relaxed within seconds after a return to low light or darkness. The time-dependent nature of ETR upregulation and regulated NPQ induction was verified using induction–recovery curves. Our findings show a time-dependent induction of excitation dissipation, in parallel with very rapid photoacclimation of electron transport, which combine to make ETR independent of short-term changes in PAR. This supports a selective advantage for these diatoms when exposed to fluctuating light in their environment.
Keywords: Photoacclimation; Diatom photophysiology; Downregulation; Haslea ; Electron transport rate

Energy transfer in purple bacterial photosynthetic units from cells grown in various light intensities by Dariusz M. Niedzwiedzki; Alastair T. Gardiner; Robert E. Blankenship; Richard J. Cogdell (389-402).
Three photosynthetic membranes, called intra-cytoplasmic membranes (ICMs), from wild-type and the ∆pucBAabce mutant of the purple phototrophic bacterium Rps. palustris were investigated using optical spectroscopy. The ICMs contain identical light-harvesting complex 1–reaction centers (LH1–RC) but have various spectral forms of light-harvesting complex 2 (LH2). Spectroscopic studies involving steady-state absorption, fluorescence, and femtosecond time-resolved absorption at room temperature and at 77 K focused on inter-protein excitation energy transfer. The studies investigated how energy transfer is affected by altered spectral features of the LH2 complexes as those develop under growth at different light conditions. The study shows that LH1 → LH2 excitation energy transfer is strongly affected if the LH2 complex alters its spectroscopic signature. The LH1 → LH2 excitation energy transfer rate modeled with the Förster mechanism and kinetic simulations of transient absorption of the ICMs demonstrated that the transfer rate will be 2–3 times larger for ICMs accumulating LH2 complexes with the classical B800–850 spectral signature (grown in high light) compared to the ICMs from the same strain grown in low light. For the ICMs from the ∆pucBAabce mutant, in which the B850 band of the LH2 complex is blue-shifted and almost degenerate with the B800 band, the LH1 → LH2 excitation energy transfer was not observed nor predicted by calculations.
Keywords: Purple bacteria; Light-harvesting complex; Transient absorption; Energy transfer; Intra-cytoplasmic membrane

Humic substances (HSs) can influence the growth and composition of freshwater phytoplankton assemblage. Since HSs contain many phenolic and quinonic moieties and cause growth reductions in eco-physiological field experiments, HSs are considered photosystem II herbicides. To test this specific mode of action in vivo and in vitro, respectively, we used intact cells of the green alga Desmodesmus armatus, as well as thylakoids isolated from spinach (Spinacia oleracea) as a model system for the green algal chloroplast. Photosynthetic electron transport was measured as oxygen evolution and variable chlorophyll fluorescence. The in vivo effect of the artificial humic substance HS1500 on algae consisted of no impact on photosynthesis–irradiance curves of intact green algae compared to untreated controls. In contrast, addition of HS1500 to isolated thylakoids resulted in light-induced oxygen consumption (Mehler reaction) as an in vitro effect. Fluorescence induction kinetics of HS-treated thylakoids revealed a large static quenching effect of HS1500, but no inhibitory effect on electron transport. For the case of intact algal cells, we conclude that the highly hydrophilic and rather large molecules of HS1500 are not taken up in effective quantities and, therefore, cannot interfere with photosynthesis. The in vitro tests show that HS1500 has no inhibitory effect on photosystem II but operates as a weak, oxygen-consuming Hill acceptor at photosystem I. Hence, the results indicate that eco-physiological field experiments should focus more strongly on effects of HSs on extracellular features, such as reducing and red-shifting the underwater light field or influencing nutrient availability by cation exchange within the plankton network.
Keywords: Humic substances; Algicidal/herbicidal function; Algal growth; Photosynthetic oxygen evolution; Photosynthetic electron transport; Chlorophyll fluorescence

Effect of artificial redox mediators on the photoinduced oxygen reduction by photosystem I complexes by Anastasia Petrova; Mahir Mamedov; Boris Ivanov; Alexey Semenov; Marina Kozuleva (421-429).
The peculiarities of interaction of cyanobacterial photosystem I with redox mediators 2,6-dichlorophenolindophenol (DCPIP) and N,N,N′,N′-tetramethyl-p-phenylenediamine (TMPD) were investigated. The higher donor efficiency of the reduced DCPIP form was demonstrated. The oxidized form of DCPIP was shown to be an efficient electron acceptor for terminal iron–sulfur cluster of photosystem I. Likewise methyl viologen, after one-electron reduction, DCPIP transfers an electron to the molecular oxygen. These results were discussed in terms of influence of these interactions on photosystem I reactions with the molecular oxygen and natural electron acceptors.
Keywords: Redox mediator; Oxygen reduction; Photosystem I; Methyl viologen; 2,6-Dichlorophenolindophenol; N,N,N′,N′-tetramethyl-p-phenylenediamine; Electron acceptor; Midpoint potential

Under CO2-limited conditions such as during stomatal closure, photorespiration is suggested to act as a sink for excess light energy and protect photosystem I (PSI) by oxidizing its reaction center chlorophyll P700. In this study, this issue was directly examined with rice (Oryza sativa L.) plants via genetic manipulation of the amount of Rubisco, which can be a limiting factor for photorespiration. At low [CO2] of 5 Pa that mimicked stomatal closure condition, the activity of photorespiration in transgenic plants with decreased Rubisco content (RBCS-antisense plants) markedly decreased, whereas the activity in transgenic plants with overproduction of Rubisco (RBCS-sense plants) was similar to that in wild-type plants. Oxidation of P700 was enhanced at [CO2] of 5 Pa in wild-type and RBCS-sense plants. PSI was not damaged by excess light stress induced by repetitive saturated pulse-light (rSP) in the presence of strong steady-state light. On the other hand, P700 was strongly reduced in RBCS-antisense plants at [CO2] of 5 Pa. PSI was also damaged by rSP illumination. These results indicate that oxidation of P700 and the robustness of PSI against excess light stress are hampered by the decreased activity of photorespiration as a result of genetic manipulation of Rubisco content. It is also suggested that overproduction of Rubisco does not enhance photorespiration as well as CO2 assimilation probably due to partial deactivation of Rubisco.
Keywords: Photorespiration; Rubisco; Excess light stress; Low [CO2] condition; Rice

In higher plants, the tetrapyrrole biosynthesis pathway starts from the reaction catalyzed by the rate-limiting enzyme, glutamyl-tRNAGlu reductase (GTR). In Arabidopsis thaliana, GTR is controlled by post-transcriptional regulators such as GTR binding protein (GBP), which stimulates AtGTR activity. The NADPH-binding domain of AtGTR undergoes a substantial movement upon GBP binding. Here, we report the crystal structure of AtGTR-NADPH-GBP ternary complex. NADPH binding causes slight structural changes compared with the AtGTR-GBP binary complex, and possibly take a part of the space needed by the substrate glutamyl-tRNAGlu. The highly reactive sulfhydryl group of the active-site residue Cys144 shows an obvious rotation, which may facilitate the hydride transfer from NADPH to the thioester intermediate to form glutamate-1-semialdehyde. Furthermore, Lys271, Lys274, Ser275, Asn278, and Gln282 of GBP participate in the interaction between AtGTR and GBP, and the stimulating effect of GBP decreased when all of these residues were mutated to Ala. When the Cys144 of AtGTR was mutated to Ser, AtGTR activity could not be detected even in the presence of GBP.
Keywords: Arabidopsis thalian a ; GTR; NADPH; GBP; ALA; Tetrapyrrole

Similar photosynthetic response to elevated carbon dioxide concentration in species with different phloem loading strategies by Kristen A. Bishop; Pauline Lemonnier; Jennifer C. Quebedeaux; Christopher M. Montes; Andrew D. B. Leakey; Elizabeth A. Ainsworth (453-464).
Species have different strategies for loading sugars into the phloem, which vary in the route that sugars take to enter the phloem and the energetics of sugar accumulation. Species with passive phloem loading are hypothesized to have less flexibility in response to changes in some environmental conditions because sucrose export from mesophyll cells is dependent on fixed anatomical plasmodesmatal connections. Passive phloem loaders also have high mesophyll sugar content, and may be less likely to exhibit sugar-mediated down-regulation of photosynthetic capacity at elevated CO2 concentrations. To date, the effect of phloem loading strategy on the response of plant carbon metabolism to rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations is unclear, despite the widespread impacts of rising CO2 on plants. Over three field seasons, five species with apoplastic loading, passive loading, or polymer-trapping were grown at ambient and elevated CO2 concentration in free air concentration enrichment plots. Light-saturated rate of photosynthesis, photosynthetic capacity, leaf carbohydrate content, and anatomy were measured and compared among the species. All five species showed significant stimulation in midday photosynthetic CO2 uptake by elevated CO2 even though the two passive loading species showed significant down-regulation of maximum Rubisco carboxylation capacity at elevated CO2. There was a trend toward greater starch accumulation at elevated CO2 in all species, and was most pronounced in passive loaders. From this study, we cannot conclude that phloem loading strategy is a key determinant of plant response to elevated CO2, but compelling differences in response counter to our hypothesis were observed. A phylogenetically controlled experiment with more species may be needed to fully test the hypothesis.
Keywords: Elevated carbon dioxide; Photosynthesis; Phloem loading strategy; Sugar-mediated feedback

Expression level of Rubisco activase negatively correlates with Rubisco content in transgenic rice by Hiroshi Fukayama; Akina Mizumoto; Chiaki Ueguchi; Jun Katsunuma; Ryutaro Morita; Daisuke Sasayama; Tomoko Hatanaka; Tetsushi Azuma (465-474).
The relationship between ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) and Rubisco activase (Rca) levels was studied using transgenic rice overexpressing maize Rca (OX-mRca) and knockdown transgenic rice expressing antisense Rca (KD-Rca). The ratio of Rubisco to total soluble protein was lower in OX-mRca, whereas it was higher in KD-Rca than in WT, indicating that Rca expression was negatively correlated with Rubisco content. The expressions of other Calvin–Benson–Bassham cycle enzymes such as sedoheptulose-1,7-bisphosphatase and phosphoribulokinase analyzed by immunoblotting did not show such a negative correlation with Rca, suggesting that the effect of Rca on protein expression may be specific for Rubisco. Although Rubisco content was decreased in OX-mRca, the transcript levels of the Rubisco large subunit (OsRbcL) and the Rubisco small subunit mostly increased in OX-mRca as well as in KD-Rca. Additionally, polysome loading of OsRbcL was slightly higher in OX-mRca than it was in WT, suggesting that the OsRbcL translation activity was likely stimulated by overexpression of Rca. 35S-methionine labeling experiments demonstrated that there was no significant difference in the stability of newly synthesized Rubisco among genotypes. However, 35S-methionine-labeled Rubisco was marginally decreased in OX-mRca and increased in KD-Rca compared to the WT. These results suggest that Rca negatively affects the Rubisco content, possibly in the synthesis step.
Keywords: Photosynthesis; Polysome loading; Rice; Rubisco; Rubisco activase; Protein turnover

Remodeling of chloroplast proteome under salinity affects salt tolerance of Festuca arundinacea by Izabela Pawłowicz; Agnieszka Waśkiewicz; Dawid Perlikowski; Marcin Rapacz; Dominika Ratajczak; Arkadiusz Kosmala (475-492).
Acclimation of photosynthetic apparatus to variable environmental conditions is an important component of tolerance to dehydration stresses, including salinity. The present study deals with the research on alterations in chloroplast proteome of the forage grasses. Based on chlorophyll fluorescence parameters, two genotypes of a model grass species—Festuca arundinacea with distinct levels of salinity tolerance: low salt tolerant (LST) and high salt tolerant (HST), were selected. Next, two-dimensional electrophoresis and mass spectrometry were applied under both control and salt stress conditions to identify proteins accumulated differentially between these two genotypes. The physiological analysis revealed that under NaCl treatment the studied plants differed in photosystem II activity, water content, and ion accumulation. The differentially accumulated proteins included ATPase B, ATP synthase, ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase large and small subunits, cytochrome b6-f complex iron-sulfur subunit, oxygen-evolving enhancer proteins (OEE), OEE1 and OEE2, plastidic fructose-bisphosphate aldolase (pFBA), and lipocalin. A higher level of lipocalin, potentially involved in prevention of lipid peroxidation under stress, was also observed in the HST genotype. Our physiological and proteomic results performed for the first time on the species of forage grasses clearly showed that chloroplast metabolism adjustment could be a crucial factor in developing salinity tolerance.
Keywords: Chloroplast; Proteome; Festuca arundinacea ; Photosynthesis

Important photosynthetic contribution of silique wall to seed yield-related traits in Arabidopsis thaliana by Xiaoyi Zhu; Liang Zhang; Chen Kuang; Yan Guo; Chunqian Huang; Linbin Deng; Xingchao Sun; Gaomiao Zhan; Zhiyong Hu; Hanzhong Wang; Wei Hua (493-501).
In plants, green non-foliar organs are able to perform photosynthesis just as leaves do, and the seed-enclosing pod acts as an essential photosynthetic organ in legume and Brassica species. To date, the contribution of pod photosynthesis to seed yield and related components still remains largely unexplored, and in Arabidopsis thaliana, the photosynthetic activity of the silique (pod) is unknown. In this study, an Arabidopsis glk1/glk2 mutant defective in both leaf and silique photosynthesis was used to create tissue-specific functional complementation lines. These lines were used to analyze the contribution of silique wall photosynthesis to seed yield and related traits, and to permit the comparison of this contribution with that of leaf photosynthesis. Our results showed that, together with leaves, the photosynthetic assimilation of the silique wall greatly contributed to total seed yield per plant. As for individual components of yield traits, leaf photosynthesis alone contributed to the seed number per silique and silique length, while silique wall photosynthesis alone contributed to thousand-seed weight. In addition, enhancing the photosynthetic capacity of the silique wall by overexpressing the photosynthesis-related RCA gene in this tissue resulted in significantly increased seed weight and oil content in the wild-type (WT) background. These results reveal that silique wall photosynthesis plays an important role in seed-related traits, and that enhancing silique photosynthesis in WT plants can further improve seed yield-related traits and oil production. This finding may have significant implications for improving the seed yield and oil production of oilseed crops and other species with pod-like organs.
Keywords: Photosynthesis; Silique wall; Seed yield traits; Arabidopsis thaliana

Development of fluorescence quenching in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii upon prolonged illumination at 77 K by Lucyna M. Wlodarczyk; Joris J. Snellenburg; Jan P. Dekker; Ivo H. M. Stokkum (503-513).
Low-temperature fluorescence measurements are frequently used in photosynthesis research to assess photosynthetic processes. Upon illumination of photosystem II (PSII) frozen to 77 K, fluorescence quenching is observed. In this work, we studied the light-induced quenching in intact cells of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii at 77 K using time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy with a streak camera setup. In agreement with previous studies, global analysis of the data shows that prolonged illumination of the sample affects the nanosecond decay component of the PSII emission. Using target analysis, we resolved the quenching on the PSII-684 compartment which describes bulk chlorophyll molecules of the PSII core antenna. Further, we quantified the quenching rate constant and observed that as the illumination proceeds the accumulation of the quencher leads to a speed up of the fluorescence decay of the PSII-684 compartment as the decay rate constant increases from about 3 to 4 ns− 1. The quenching on PSII-684 leads to indirect quenching of the compartments PSII-690 and PSII-695 which represent the red chlorophyll of the PSII core. These results explain past and current observations of light-induced quenching in 77 K steady-state and time-resolved fluorescence spectra.
Keywords: Photosystem II; State transitions; Time-resolved fluorescence; Target analysis