Savitch LV, Leonardos ED, Krol M, Jansson S, Grodzinski B, Huner NPA, Oquist G
Two different strategies for light utilization in photosynthesis in relation to growth and cold acclimation
Plant Cell and Environment: 2002 25:761-771
Seedlings of Lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta L.) and winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L. cv. Monopol) were cold acclimated under controlled conditions to induce frost hardiness. Lodgepole pine responded to cold acclimation by partial inhibition of photosynthesis with an associated partial loss of photosystem II reaction centres, and a reduction in needle chlorophyll content. This was accompanied by a low daily carbon gain, and the development of a high and sustained capacity for non-photochemical quenching of absorbed light. This sustained dissipation of absorbed light as heat correlated with an increased de-epoxidation of the xanthophyll cycle pigments forming the quenching forms antheraxanthin and zeaxanthin. In addition, the PsbS protein known to bind chlorophyll and the xanthophyll cycle pigments increased strongly during cold acclimation of pine. In contrast, winter wheat maintained high photosynthetic rates, showed no loss of chlorophyll content per leaf area, and exhibited a high daily carbon gain and a minimal non-photochemical quenching after cold acclimation. In accordance, cold acclimation of wheat neither increased the de-epoxidation of the xanthophylls nor the content of the PsbS protein. These different responses of photosynthesis to cold acclimation are correlated with pine, reducing its need for assimilates when entering dormancy associated with termination of primary growth, whereas winter wheat maintains a high need for assimilates as it continues to grow and develop throughout the cold-acclimation period. It appears that without evolving a sustained ability for controlled dissipation of absorbed light as heat throughout the winter, winter green conifers would not have managed to adapt and establish themselves so successfully in the cold climatic zones of the northern hemisphere.
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