The relationship between maximum tolerated light intensity and photoprotective energy dissipation in the photosynthetic antenna: Chloroplast gains and losses
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
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The principle of quantifying the efficiency of protection of photosystem II (PSII) reaction centres against photoinhibition by non-photochemical energy dissipation (NPQ) has been recently introduced by Ruban & Murchie (2012 Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1817, 977-982 (doi:10.1016/j.bbabio.2012.03.026)). This is based upon the assessment of two key parameters: (i) the relationship between the PSII yield and NPQ, and (ii) the fraction of intact PSII reaction centres in the dark after illumination. In this paper, we have quantified the relationship between the amplitude of NPQ and the light intensity at which all PSII reaction centres remain intact for plants with different levels of PsbS protein, known to play a key role in the process. It was found that the same, nearly linear, relationship exists between the levels of the protective NPQ component (pNPQ) and the tolerated light intensity in all types of studied plants. This approach allowed for the quantification of the maximum tolerated light intensity, the light intensity at which all plant leaves become photoinhibited, the fraction of (most likely) unnecessary or 'wasteful' NPQ, and the fraction of photoinhibited PSII reaction centres under conditions of prolonged illumination by full sunlight. It was concluded that the governing factors in the photoprotection of PSII are the level and rate of protective pNPQ formation, which are often in discord with the amplitude of the conventional measure of photoprotection, the quickly reversibleNPQ component, qE. Hence,we recommend pNPQas a more informative and less ambiguous parameter than qE, as it reflects the effectiveness and limitations of the major photoprotective process of the photosynthetic membrane. © 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.