Two dominant boreal conifers use contrasting mechanisms to reactivate photosynthesis in the spring
Nat Commun. 2020 Jan 8;11(1):128
Yang Q, Blanco NE, Hermida-Carrera C, Lehotai N, Hurry V, Strand Å
Boreal forests are dominated by evergreen conifers that show strongly regulated seasonal photosynthetic activity. Understanding the mechanisms behind seasonal modulation of photosynthesis is crucial for predicting how these forests will respond to changes in seasonal patterns and how this will affect their role in the terrestrial carbon cycle. We demonstrate that the two co-occurring dominant boreal conifers, Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and Norway spruce (Picea abies), use contrasting mechanisms to reactivate photosynthesis in the spring. Scots pine downregulates its capacity for CO2 assimilation during winter and activates alternative electron sinks through accumulation of PGR5 and PGRL1 during early spring until the capacity for CO2 assimilation is recovered. In contrast, Norway spruce lacks this ability to actively switch between different electron sinks over the year and as a consequence suffers severe photooxidative damage during the critical spring period.
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