Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 139, Issue 1–3, pp 203–214 | Cite as

Light acclimation of shade-tolerant and sun-resistant Tradescantia species: photochemical activity of PSII and its sensitivity to heat treatment

  • Michael A. Benkov
  • Anton M. Yatsenko
  • Alexander N. TikhonovEmail author
Original Article


In this work, we have compared photosynthetic characteristics of photosystem II (PSII) in Tradescantia leaves of two contrasting ecotypes grown under the low light (LL) and high light (HL) regimes during their entire growth period. Plants of the same genus, T. fluminensis (shade-tolerant) and T. sillamontana (sun-resistant), were cultivated at 50–125 µmol photons m−2 s−1 (LL) or at 875–1000 µmol photons m−2 s−1 (HL). Analyses of intrinsic PSII efficiency was based on measurements of fast chlorophyll (Chl) a fluorescence kinetics (the OJIP test). The fluorescence parameters Fv/Fm (variable fluorescence) and F0 (the initial level of fluorescence) in dark-adapted leaves were used to quantify the photochemical properties of PSII. Plants of different ecotypes showed different sustainability with respect to changes in the environmental light intensity and temperature treatment. The sun-resistant species T. sillamontana revealed the tolerance to variations in irradiation intensity, demonstrating constancy of maximum quantum efficiency of PSII upon variations of the growth light. In contrast to T. sillamontana, facultative shade species T. fluminensis demonstrated variability of PSII photochemical activity, depending on the growth light intensity. The susceptibility of T. fluminensis to solar stress was documented by a decrease in Fv/Fm and a rise of F0 during the long-term exposition of T. fluminensis to HL, indicating the loss of photochemical activity of PSII. The short-term (10 min) heat treatment of leaf cuttings caused inactivation of PSII. The temperature-dependent heating effects were different in T. fluminensis and T. sillamontana. Sun-resistant plants T. sillamontana acclimated to LL and HL displayed the same plots of Fv/Fm versus the treatment temperature (t), demonstrating a decrease in Fv/Fm at t ≥ 45 °C. The leaves of shadow-tolerant species T. fluminensis grown under the LL and HL conditions revealed different sensitivities to heat treatment. Plants grown under the solar stress conditions (HL) demonstrated a gradual decline of Fv/Fm at lower heating temperatures (t ≥ 25 °C), indicating the “fragility” of their PSII as compared to T. fluminensis grown at LL. Different responses of sun and shadow species of Tradescantia to growth light and heat treatment are discussed in the context of their biochemical and ecophysiological properties.


Tradescantia leaves Photosynthesis Chlorophyll a fluorescence Photosystem II activity Light acclimation Heat treatment 



Calvin–Benson cycle




Electron transport chain


Light-harvesting complex I


Light-harvesting complex II


Non-photochemical quenching


Pulse amplitude modulation


Primary and secondary plastoquinones in PSII


Photosynthetic apparatus


Photosystem I and Photosystem II



This work was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (Grant 18-04-00214).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael A. Benkov
    • 1
  • Anton M. Yatsenko
    • 1
  • Alexander N. Tikhonov
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Faculty of PhysicsM.V. Lomonosov Moscow State UniversityMoscowRussia
  2. 2.N.M. Emanuel Institute of Biochemical Physics of Russian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia

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