June 5, 2023
Science News |  The study finds regulation of photosynthesis under changing light conditions  Last

Science News | The study finds regulation of photosynthesis under changing light conditions Last

Munich [Germany], Dec 26 (ANI): Plants are usually grown under constant lighting for research purposes, which does not mimic outdoor conditions. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam-Golm (Germany) and the College of Natural Science at Michigan State University (USA) demonstrate the importance of two key proteins in the dynamic control of photosynthesis in a series of experiments with changing light conditions , simulating the natural interaction of light and shadow.

The study findings were published in the journal New Phytologist.

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Plants perform photosynthesis to grow. In this process they use energy from sunlight, release oxygen and produce carbohydrates, which are the basic food source for all humans and almost all animals on earth. Under natural conditions, light availability can change rapidly in a very short period of time. One of the main reasons is the clouds that provide light and shadow as they pass in front of the sun. The leaves and branches of plants can also provide temporary shade when moved by the wind. Plants cannot move from shade to sun when light is limited, and conversely, they cannot avoid sun to shade when exposed to excessive sunlight. They must respond to changing light conditions in other ways.

As with humans, too much sunlight is harmful to plants. In particular, a rapid change between dim and bright light is problematic. Like the retina in our eyes, plants use molecules in their leaves to capture light particles. When the light is low, these light traps are very effective at catching as much of the low light as possible. If the light conditions change suddenly, too much light energy can reach the plant. This energy can overload or damage the delicate photosynthetic apparatus inside plant cells. Accordingly, plants must constantly adjust their photosynthetic activity to their environmental conditions in order to achieve maximum light output on the one hand, but avoid being damaged by too much light on the other.

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To date, plants in greenhouses and laboratories are grown almost exclusively under constant and uniform light conditions. Therefore, our understanding of how adaptation to changing light conditions works is very limited. At worst, this can result in plants that grow well in labs and greenhouses, but suddenly perform much worse than expected when grown in the field.

Regulation of photosynthesis under changing light conditions

Researchers around Ute Armbruster from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam-Golm and David Kramer from the College of Natural Science at Michigan State University (USA) examined the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana for their study. Plants were grown under a wide variety of conditions, including static, fluctuating, and natural light. The study focused on two ion transport proteins called VCCN1 and KEA3 that play a key role in dynamically adjusting photosynthetic efficiency. It is known from previous studies that VCCN1 activates sun protection if the light suddenly becomes too strong. When the light intensity decreases, the second protein KEA3 quickly breaks down this sun protection so that the plant can catch more light again. However, the two proteins VCCN1 and KEA3 have never been examined under realistic light conditions.

The researchers used an innovative new approach to measuring photosynthesis combined with a targeted use of gene knockouts – that is, plants whose genes for VCCN1 and KEA3 have been switched off. They show that the activities of the VCCN1 and KEA3 proteins depend on the light conditions in which the plants were grown. Following suggestions from the head of the Plant Cultivation Infrastructure Group, Dr. Karin Kohl, the researchers focused on two growth-related light factors. the analysis and were able to show that both the amount of light a plant receives and the frequency of light fluctuations have a strong effect on the function of the two ion transporters. The protective function of VCCN1 is only significant in plants previously grown in low light. On the other hand, the deprotection KEA3 was active even during periods of high light when plants were grown under conditions with increased light intensities.

Sun protection also depends on the degree of light fluctuations the plants are exposed to. When light conditions change significantly, plants produce the orange pigment zeaxanthin, which is also involved in sun protection. The production of this sunscreen is also suppressed by KEA3 in high light conditions.

“Our study shows that we should not consider the effect of developmental light and rapid responses to light fluctuations separately,” said lead study author Thekla von Bismarck, adding: “Integrating multiple time scales and metabolic levels with a whole and more complicated way. will be a major future challenge for crop research. This will provide key insights for improving crop yields in the field.” (A I)

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from the News Syndicate feed, LatestLY Staff may not have modified or edited the body of content)

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