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Photoinhibitory damage is modulated by the rate of photosynthesis and by the photosystem II light-harvesting chlorophyll antenna size

Abstract.

We investigated the effect of photosynthetic electron transport and of the photosystem II (PSII) chlorophyll (Chl) antenna size on the rate of PSII photoinhibitory damage. To modulate the rate of photosynthesis and the light-harvesting capacity in the unicellular chlorophyte Dunaliella salina Teod., we varied the amount of inorganic carbon in the culture medium. Cells were grown under high irradiance either with a limiting supply of inorganic carbon, provided by an initial concentration of 25 mM NaHCO3, or with supplemental CO2 bubbled in the form of 3% CO2 in air. The NaHCO3-grown cells displayed slow rates of photosynthesis and had a small PSII light-harvesting Chl antenna size (60 Chl molecules). The half-time of PSII photodamage was 40 min. When switched to supplemental CO2 conditions, the rate of photodamage was retarded to a t1/2 = 70 min. Conversely, CO2-supplemented cells displayed faster rates of photosynthesis and a larger PSII light-harvesting Chl antenna size (500 Chl molecules). They also showed a rate of photodamage with t1/2 = 40 min. When depleted of CO2, the rate of photodamage was accelerated (t1/2  = 20 min). These results indicate that the in-vivo susceptibility to photodamage is modulated by the rate of forward electron transport through PSII. Moreover, a large Chl antenna size enhances the rate of light absorption and photodamage and, therefore, counters the mitigating effect of forward electron transport. We propose that under steady-state photosynthesis, the rate of light absorption (determined by incident light intensity and PS Chl antenna size) and the rate of forward electron transport (determined by CO2 availability) modulate the oxidation/reduction state of the primary PSII acceptor QA, which in turn defines the low/high probability for photodamage in the PSII reaction center.

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Received: 14 August 1997 / Accepted: 26 September 1997

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Baroli, I., Melis, A. Photoinhibitory damage is modulated by the rate of photosynthesis and by the photosystem II light-harvesting chlorophyll antenna size. Planta 205, 288–296 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1007/s004250050323

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  • Key words: Chlorophyll antenna size
  • D1 protein
  • Dunaliella (photoinhibition)
  • Electron transport
  • Photoinhibition
  • Photosystem II