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



Pigment structure in the violaxanthin–chlorophyll- a -binding protein VCP

Abstract

Resonance Raman spectroscopy was used to evaluate pigment-binding site properties in the violaxanthin–chlorophyll-a-binding protein (VCP) from Nannochloropsis oceanica. The pigments bound to this antenna protein are chlorophyll-a, violaxanthin, and vaucheriaxanthin. The molecular structures of bound Chl-a molecules are discussed with respect to those of the plant antenna proteins LHCII and CP29, the crystal structures of which are known. We show that three populations of carotenoid molecules are bound by VCP, each of which is in an all-trans configuration. We assign the lower-energy absorption transition of each of these as follows. One violaxanthin population absorbs at 485 nm, while the second population is red-shifted and absorbs at 503 nm. The vaucheriaxanthin population absorbs at 525 nm, a position red-shifted by 2138 cm−1 as compared to isolated vaucheriaxanthin in n-hexane. The red-shifted violaxanthin is slightly less planar than the blue-absorbing one, as observed for the two central luteins in LHCII, and we suggest that these violaxanthins occupy the two equivalent binding sites in VCP at the centre of the cross-brace. The presence of a highly red-shifted vaucheriaxanthin in VCP is reminiscent of the situation of FCP, in which (even more) highly red-shifted populations of fucoxanthin are present. Tuning carotenoids to absorb in the green-yellow region of the visible spectrum appears to be a common evolutionary response to competition with other photosynthetic species in the aquatic environment.


Datum: 01.10.2017


The paths of Andrew A. Benson: a radio-autobiography

Abstract

Andrew A. Benson, one of the greatest biochemists of our time, is celebrated on his centennial by the authors with whom he interacted performing experiments or contemplating metabolic pathways in a wide range of biological kingdoms. He charted the chemical flow of energy in cells, tissues, organs, plants, animals, and ecosystems. Benson collaborated with hundreds of colleagues to examine the natural history of autotrophy, mixotrophy, and heterotrophy while elucidating metabolic pathways. We present here a biological perspective of his body of studies. Benson lived from September 24, 1917, to January 16, 2015. Out of over 1000 autoradiograms he produced in his life, he left a legacy of 50 labeled autoradiograms to the authors who tell the story of his life’s work that resulted in Benson’s Protocol (Nonomura et al., Photosynth Res 127:369–378, 2016) that has been applied, over the years, for the elucidation of major metabolic pathways by many scientists.


Datum: 01.10.2017


Root-derived bicarbonate assimilation in response to variable water deficit in Camptotheca acuminate seedlings

Abstract

Water deficit is one of the key factors that limits the carbon (C) assimilation and productivity of plants. The effect of variable water deficit on recently root-derived bicarbonate assimilation in Camptotheca acuminate seedlings was investigated. Three-month-old seedlings were subjected to three water regimes, well-watered (WW), moderate stress (MS), and severe stress (SS) induced by polyethyleneglycol, in conjunction with relatively high (H) and low (L) natural 13C-abundance of NaHCO3-labeled treatments in hydroponics for 14 days. The δ13C of the newly expanded leaves in H were generally more enriched in heavy isotopes than were those in L, indicative of the involvement of bicarbonate in aboveground tissues. The C isotope fractionation of newly expanded leaves relative to air (∆13Cair-leaves) ranged from 17.78 to 21.78‰ among the treatments. The ∆13Cair-leaves under the MS and SS treatments in H were both more negative than was that in L. A linear regression between Ci/Ca and ∆13Cair-leaves in both L and H were different from the theoretical regression. On the basis of the two end-member mixing model, the proportion of fixed CO2 supplied from bicarbonate contributing to the total photosynthetically inorganic C assimilation were 10.34, 20.05 and 16.60% under the WW, MS, and SS treatments, respectively. These results indicated that the increase in water deficit decreased the atmospheric CO2 gain but triggered a compensatory use of bicarbonate in C. acuminate seedlings.


Datum: 01.10.2017


Joseph Neumann (1930–2017): a scientist and a philosopher


Datum: 01.10.2017


Diter von Wettstein (Dietrich Holger Wettstein Ritter von Westersheim): September 20, 1929-April 13, 2017


Datum: 01.10.2017


The F O F 1 ATP synthase: from atomistic three-dimensional structure to the rotary-chemical function

Abstract

Molecular motors are multi-subunit complexes that are indispensable for accomplishing various tasks of the living cells. One such molecular motor is the FOF1 ATP synthase that synthesizes ATP at the expense of the membrane proton gradient. Elucidating the molecular origin of the motor function is challenging despite significant advances in various experimental fields. Currently atomic simulations of whole motor complexes cannot reach to functionally relevant time scales that extend beyond the millisecond regime. Moreover, to reveal the underlying molecular origin of the function, one must model the coupled chemical and conformational events using physically and chemically meaningful multiscaling techniques. In this review, we discuss our approach to model the action of the F1 and FO molecular motors, where emphasis is laid on elucidating the molecular origin of the driving force that leads to directional rotation at the expense of ATP hydrolysis or proton gradients. We have used atomic structures of the motors and used hierarchical multiscaling techniques to generate low dimensional functional free energy surfaces of the complete mechano-chemical process. These free energy surfaces were studied further to calculate important characteristics of the motors, such as, rotational torque, temporal dynamics, occurrence of intermittent dwell states, etc. We also studied the result of mutating various parts of the motor domains and our observations correspond very well with the experimental findings. Overall, our studies have generated a cumulative understanding of the motor action, and especially highlight the crucial role of electrostatics in establishing the mechano-chemical coupling.


Datum: 01.10.2017


Leaf photosynthetic rate and mesophyll cell anatomy changes during ontogenesis in backcrossed indica  ×  japonica rice inbred lines

Abstract

The high-yielding indica rice variety, ‘Takanari’, has the high rate of leaf photosynthesis compared with the commercial japonica varieties. Among backcrossed inbred lines from a cross between ‘Takanari’ and a japonica variety, ‘Koshihikari’, two lines, BTK-a and BTK-b, showed approximately 20% higher photosynthetic rate than that of ‘Takanari’ for a flag leaf at full heading. This is a highest recorded rate of rice leaf photosynthesis. Here, the timing and cause of the increased leaf photosynthesis in the BTK lines were investigated by examining the photosynthesis and related parameters, as well as mesophyll cell anatomy during ontogenesis. Their photosynthetic rate was greater than that of ‘Takanari’ in the 13th leaf, as well as the flag leaf, but there were no differences in the 7th and 10th leaves. There were no consistent differences in the stomatal conductance, or the leaf nitrogen and Rubisco contents in the 13th and flag leaves. The total surface area of mesophyll cells per leaf area (TAmes) in the 13th and flag leaves increased significantly in the BTK lines due to the increased number and developed lobes of mesophyll cells compared with in ‘Takanari’. The mesophyll conductance (g m) became greater in the BTK lines compared with ‘Takanari’ in the flag leaves but not in the 10th leaves. A close correlation was observed between TAmes and g m. We concluded that the increased mesophyll conductance through the development of mesophyll cells during the reproductive period is a probable cause of the greater photosynthetic rate in the BTK lines.


Datum: 01.10.2017


Concentration-based self-assembly of phycocyanin

Abstract

Cyanobacteria light-harvesting complexes can change their structure to cope with fluctuating environmental conditions. Studying in vivo structural changes is difficult owing to complexities imposed by the cellular environment. Mimicking this system in vitro is challenging, as well. The in vivo system is highly concentrated, and handling similar in vitro concentrated samples optically is difficult because of high absorption. In this research, we mapped the cyanobacteria antennas self-assembly pathways using highly concentrated solutions of phycocyanin (PC) that mimic the in vivo condition. PC was isolated from the thermophilic cyanobacterium Thermosynechococcus vulcanus and measured by several methods. PC has three oligomeric states: hexamer, trimer, and monomer. We showed that the oligomeric state was changed upon increase of PC solution concentration. This oligomerization mechanism may enable photosynthetic organisms to adapt their light-harvesting system to a wide range of environmental conditions.


Datum: 01.10.2017


Paul Henry Latimer (1925–2011): discoverer of selective scattering in photosynthetic systems

Abstract

We provide here a brief tribute to Paul Henry Latimer (November 25, 1925 to October 1, 2011), a dedicated biological physicist, discoverer of selective scattering in biological systems, a wonderful teacher, husband, and father. We provide here a glimpse of his personal and professional life, including reminiscences from F. Dudley Bryant, Dan A. Cross, Bobby E. Pyle, Bryan L. Seiber, and Bruce A. Seiber.


Datum: 01.10.2017


Carbon use efficiencies and allocation strategies in Prochlorococcus marinus strain PCC 9511 during nitrogen-limited growth

Abstract

We studied cell properties including carbon allocation dynamics in the globally abundant and important cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus marinus strain PCC 9511 grown at three different growth rates in nitrogen-limited continuous cultures. With increasing nitrogen limitation, cellular divinyl chlorophyll a and the functional absorption cross section of Photosystem II decreased, although maximal photosynthetic efficiency of PSII remained unaltered across all N-limited growth rates. Chl-specific gross and net carbon primary production were also invariant with nutrient-limited growth rate, but only 20% of Chl-specific gross carbon primary production was retained in the biomass across all growth rates. In nitrogen-replete cells, 60% of the assimilated carbon was incorporated into the protein pool while only 30% was incorporated into carbohydrates. As N limitation increased, new carbon became evenly distributed between these two pools. While many of these physiological traits are similar to those measured in other algae, there are also distinct differences, particularly the lower overall efficiency of carbon utilization. The latter provides new information needed for understanding and estimating primary production, particularly in the nutrient-limited tropical oceans where P. marinus dominates phytoplankton community composition.


Datum: 01.10.2017


Facultative CAM photosynthesis (crassulacean acid metabolism) in four species of Calandrinia , ephemeral succulents of arid Australia

Abstract

Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) was demonstrated in four small endemic Australian terrestrial succulents from the genus Calandrinia (Montiaceae) viz. C. creethiae, C. pentavalvis, C. quadrivalvis and C. reticulata. CAM was substantiated by measurements of CO2 gas-exchange and nocturnal acidification. In all species, the expression of CAM was overwhelmingly facultative in that nocturnal H+ accumulation was greatest in droughted plants and zero, or close to zero, in plants that were well-watered, including plants that had been droughted and were subsequently rewatered, i.e. the inducible component was proven to be reversible. Gas-exchange measurements complemented the determinations of acidity. In all species, net CO2 uptake was restricted to the light in well-watered plants, and cessation of watering was followed by a progressive reduction of CO2 uptake in the light and a reduction in nocturnal CO2 efflux. In C. creethiae, C. pentavalvis and C. reticulata net CO2 assimilation was eventually observed in the dark, whereas in C. quadrivalvis nocturnal CO2 exchange approached the compensation point but did not transition to net CO2 gain. Following rewatering, all species returned to their original well-watered CO2 exchange pattern of net CO2 uptake restricted solely to the light. In addition to facultative CAM, C. quadrivalvis and C. reticulata exhibited an extremely small constitutive CAM component as demonstrated by the nocturnal accumulation in well-watered plants of small amounts of acidity and by the curved pattern of the nocturnal course of CO2 efflux. It is suggested that low-level CAM and facultative CAM are more common within the Australian succulent flora, and perhaps the world succulent flora, than has been previously assumed.


Datum: 01.10.2017


Kinetics of photosystem II electron transport: a mathematical analysis based on chlorophyll fluorescence induction

Abstract

The OJDIP rise in chlorophyll fluorescence during induction at different light intensities was mathematically modeled using 24 master equations describing electron transport through photosystem II (PSII) plus ordinary differential equations for electron budgets in plastoquinone, cytochrome f, plastocyanin, photosystem I, and ferredoxin. A novel feature of the model is consideration of electron in- and outflow budgets resulting in changes in redox states of Tyrosine Z, P680, and QA as sole bases for changes in fluorescence yield during the transient. Ad hoc contributions by transmembrane electric fields, protein conformational changes, or other putative quenching species were unnecessary to account for primary features of the phenomenon, except a peculiar slowdown of intra-PSII electron transport during induction at low light intensities. The lower than F m post-flash fluorescence yield F f was related to oxidized tyrosine Z. The transient J peak was associated with equal rates of electron arrival to and departure from QA and requires that electron transfer from QA to QB be slower than that from QA to QB . Strong quenching by oxidized P680 caused the dip D. Reduced plastoquinone, a competitive product inhibitor of PSII, blocked electron transport proportionally with its concentration. Electron transport rate indicated by fluorescence quenching was faster than the rate indicated by O2 evolution, because oxidized donor side carriers quench fluorescence but do not transport electrons. The thermal phase of the fluorescence rise beyond the J phase was caused by a progressive increase in the fraction of PSII with reduced QA and reduced donor side.


Datum: 21.09.2017


Erratum to: Interaction of the signaling state analog and the apoprotein form of the orange carotenoid protein with the fluorescence recovery protein

Abstract

In Fig. 1a in the original article, the amino acid side chains were incorrectly labeled in the structure representation of the orange carotenoid protein (OCP). The corrected figure is printed in this erratum.


Datum: 19.09.2017


Christoph Beck (1941–2017): a Chlamydomonas biologist


Datum: 18.09.2017


Formation of tyrosine radicals in photosystem II under far-red illumination

Abstract

Photosystem II (PS II) contains two redox-active tyrosine residues on the donor side at symmetrical positions to the primary donor, P680. TyrZ, part of the water-oxidizing complex, is a preferential fast electron donor while TyrD is a slow auxiliary donor to P680 +. We used PS II membranes from spinach which were depleted of the water oxidation complex (Mn-depleted PS II) to study electron donation from both tyrosines by time-resolved EPR spectroscopy under visible and far-red continuous light and laser flash illumination. Our results show that under both illumination regimes, oxidation of TyrD occurs via equilibrium with TyrZ at pH 4.7 and 6.3. At pH 8.5 direct TyrD oxidation by P680 + occurs in the majority of the PS II centers. Under continuous far-red light illumination these reactions were less effective but still possible. Different photochemical steps were considered to explain the far-red light-induced electron donation from tyrosines and localization of the primary electron hole (P680 +) on the ChlD1 in Mn-depleted PS II after the far-red light-induced charge separation at room temperature is suggested.


Datum: 18.09.2017


Vyacheslav (Slava) Klimov (1945–2017): A scientist par excellence, a great human being, a friend, and a Renaissance man

Abstract

Vyacheslav Vasilevich (V.V.) Klimov (or Slava, as most of us called him) was born on January 12, 1945 and passed away on May 9, 2017. He began his scientific career at the Bach Institute of Biochemistry of the USSR Academy of Sciences (Akademy Nauk (AN) SSSR), Moscow, Russia, and then, he was associated with the Institute of Photosynthesis, Pushchino, Moscow Region, for about 50 years. He worked in the field of biochemistry and biophysics of photosynthesis. He is known for his studies on the molecular organization of photosystem II (PSII). He was an eminent scientist in the field of photobiology, a well-respected professor, and, above all, an outstanding researcher. Further, he was one of the founding members of the Institute of Photosynthesis in Pushchino, Russia. To most, Slava Klimov was a great human being. He was one of the pioneers of research on the understanding of the mechanism of light energy conversion and of water oxidation in photosynthesis. Slava had many collaborations all over the world, and he is (and will be) very much missed by the scientific community and friends in Russia as well as around the World. We present here a brief biography and some comments on his research in photosynthesis. We remember him as a friendly and enthusiastic person who had an unflagging curiosity and energy to conduct outstanding research in many aspects of photosynthesis, especially that related to PSII.


Datum: 18.09.2017


An improved crystal structure of C-phycoerythrin from the marine cyanobacterium Phormidium sp. A09DM

Abstract

C-Phycoerythrin (PE) from Phormidium sp. A09DM has been crystallized using different conditions and its structure determined to atomic resolution (1.14 Å). In order for the pigment present, phycoerythrobilin (PEB), to function as an efficient light-harvesting molecule it must be held rigidly (Kupka and Scheer in Biochim Biophys Acta 1777:94–103, 2008) and, moreover, the different PEB molecules in PE must be arranged, relative to each other, so as to promote efficient energy transfer between them. This improved structure has allowed us to define in great detail the structure of the PEBs and their binding sites. These precise structural details will facilitate theoretical calculations of each PEB’s spectroscopic properties. It was possible, however, to suggest a model for which chromophores contribute to the different regions of absorption spectrum and propose a tentative scheme for energy transfer. We show that some subtle differences in one of these PEB binding sites in two of the 12 subunits are caused by crystal contacts between neighboring hexamers in the crystal lattice. This explains some of the differences seen in previous lower resolution structures determined at two different pH values (Kumar et al. in Photosyn Res 129:17–28, 2016).


Datum: 16.09.2017


Loss of LHCI system affects LHCII re-distribution between thylakoid domains upon state transitions

Abstract

LHCI, the peripheral antenna system of Photosystem I, includes four light-harvesting proteins (Lhca1-Lhca4) in higher plants, all of which are devoid in the Arabidopsis thaliana knock-out mutant ΔLhca. PSI absorption cross-section was reduced in the mutant, thus affecting the redox balance of the photosynthetic electron chain and resulting in a more reduced PQ with respect to the wild type. ΔLhca plants developed compensatory response by enhancing LHCII binding to PSI. However, the amplitude of state transitions, as measured from changes of chlorophyll fluorescence in vivo, was unexpectedly low than the high level of PSI–LHCII supercomplex established. In order to elucidate the reasons for discrepancy, we further analyzed state transition in ΔLhca plants. The STN7 kinase was fully active in the mutant as judged from up-regulation of LHCII phosphorylation in state II. Instead, the lateral heterogeneity of thylakoids was affected by lack of LHCI, with LHCII being enriched in stroma membranes with respect to the wild type. Re-distribution of this complex affected the overall fluorescence yield of thylakoids already in state I and minimized changes in RT fluorescence yield when LHCII did connect to PSI reaction center. We conclude that interpretation of chlorophyll fluorescence analysis of state transitions becomes problematic when applied to mutants whose thylakoid architecture is significantly modified with respect to the wild type.


Datum: 16.09.2017


Presence of a [3Fe–4S] cluster in a PsaC variant as a functional component of the photosystem I electron transfer chain in Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002

Abstract

A site-directed C14G mutation was introduced into the stromal PsaC subunit of Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7002 in vivo in order to introduce an exchangeable coordination site into the terminal FB [4Fe–4S] cluster of Photosystem I (PSI). Using an engineered PSI-less strain (psaAB deletion), psaC was deleted and replaced with recombinant versions controlled by a strong promoter, and the psaAB deletion was complemented. Modified PSI accumulated at lower levels in this strain and supported slower photoautotrophic growth than wild type. As-isolated PSI complexes containing PsaCC14G showed resonances with g values of 2.038 and 2.007 characteristic of a [3Fe–4S]1+ cluster. When the PSI complexes were illuminated at 15 K, these resonances partially disappeared and two new sets of resonances appeared. The majority set had g values of 2.05, 1.95, and 1.85, characteristic of FA , and the minority set had g values of 2.11, 1.90, and 1.88 from FB′ in the modified site. The S = 1/2 spin state of the latter implied the presence of a thiolate as the terminal ligand. The [3Fe–4S] clusters could be partially reconstituted with iron, producing a larger population of [4Fe–4S] clusters. Rates of flavodoxin reduction were identical in PSI complexes isolated from wild type and the PsaCC14G variant strain; this implied equivalent capacity for forward electron transfer in PSI complexes that contained [3Fe–4S] and [4Fe–4S] clusters. The development of this cyanobacterial strain is a first step toward translation of in vitro PSI-based biosolar molecular wire systems in vivo and provides new insights into the formation of Fe/S clusters.


Datum: 15.09.2017


Effect of different methods of Ca 2+ extraction from PSII oxygen-evolving complex on the Q A − oxidation kinetics

Abstract

Lumenal extrinsic proteins PsbO, PsbP, and PsbQ of photosystem II (PSII) protect the catalytic cluster Mn4CaO5 of oxygen-evolving complex (OEC) from the bulk solution and from soluble compounds in the surrounding medium. Extraction of PsbP and PsbQ proteins by NaCl-washing together with chelator EGTA is followed also by the depletion of Ca2+ cation from OEC. In this study, the effects of PsbP and PsbQ proteins, as well as Ca2+ extraction from OEC on the kinetics of the reduced primary electron acceptor (QA ) oxidation, have been studied by fluorescence decay kinetics measurements in PSII membrane fragments. We found that in addition to the impairment of OEC, removal of PsbP and PsbQ significantly slows the rate of electron transfer from QA to the secondary quinone acceptor QB. Electron transfer from QA to QB in photosystem II membranes with an occupied QB site was slowed down by a factor of 8. However, addition of EGTA or CaCl2 to NaCl-washed PSII did not change the kinetics of fluorescence decay. Moreover, the kinetics of QA oxidation by QB in Ca-depleted PSII membranes obtained by treatment with citrate buffer at pH 3.0 (such treatment keeps all extrinsic proteins in PSII but extracts Ca2+ from OEC) was not changed. The results obtained indicate that the effect of NaCl-washing on the QA to QB electron transport is due to PsbP and PsbQ extrinsic proteins extraction, but not due to Ca2+ depletion.


Datum: 11.09.2017






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