An atypical short-chain dehydrogenase–reductase functions in the relaxation of photoprotective qH in Arabidopsis
Nature Plants 2020, 6(2):154-166

Amstutz CL, Fristedt R, Schultink A, Merchant SS, Niyogi KK, Malnoë A

Photosynthetic organisms experience wide fluctuations in light intensity and regulate light harvesting accordingly to prevent damage from excess energy. The antenna quenching component qH is a sustained form of energy dissipation that protects the photosynthetic apparatus under stress conditions. This photoprotective mechanism requires the plastid lipocalin LCNP and is prevented by SUPPRESSOR OF QUENCHING1 (SOQ1) under non-stress conditions. However, the molecular mechanism of qH relaxation has yet to be resolved. Here, we isolated and characterized RELAXATION OF QH1 (ROQH1), an atypical short-chain dehydrogenase–reductase that functions as a qH-relaxation factor in Arabidopsis. The ROQH1 gene belongs to the GreenCut2 inventory specific to photosynthetic organisms, and the ROQH1 protein localizes to the chloroplast stroma lamellae membrane. After a cold and high-light treatment, qH does not relax in roqh1 mutants and qH does not occur in leaves overexpressing ROQH1. When the soq1 and roqh1 mutations are combined, qH can neither be prevented nor relaxed and soq1 roqh1 displays constitutive qH and light-limited growth. We propose that LCNP and ROQH1 perform dosage-dependent, antagonistic functions to protect the photosynthetic apparatus and maintain light-harvesting efficiency in plants.

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