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Oxygen-sensitive differences in the relationship between photosynthetic electron transport and CO2 assimilation in C3 and C4 plants during state transitions

, : Oxygen-sensitive differences in the relationship between photosynthetic electron transport and CO2 assimilation in C3 and C4 plants during state transitions. Australian Journal of Plant Physiology 24(4): 495-503

Wheat (C3) and maize (C4) leaves were exposed to light treatments that were limiting for CO2 assimilation and which excite preferentially photosystem I (PSI) or photosystem II (PSII) and induce State 1 or State 2, respectively. In order to examine the relationships between linear electron transport and CO2 in leaves during State transitions, simultaneous measurements of CO2 assimilation, chlorophyll fluorescence and absorbance at 820 nm were used to estimate the quantum efficiencies of CO2 assimilation and PSII and PSI photochemistry. In wheat leaves with photorespiratory activity, no significant change in quantum efficiency of CO2 assimilation was observed during State transitions. This was not the case when photorespiration was inhibited with either 2% O2 or 1 000 PPM CO2 and transition from State 2 to State 1 was accompanied by a large decrease (c. 20%) in the quantum efficiency of CO2 assimilation which was not associated with a decrease in the quantum efficiency of electron transport through PSII. Photorespiration appears to buffer the quantum efficiency of CO2 assimilation from changes associated with decreases in the rate of CO2 fixation resulting from imbalances in PPFD absorption by PSI and PSII. When maize leaves were subjected to similar State transitions, no significant change in the quantum efficiency of CO2 assimilation was observed on transition from State 2 to State 1, but on switching back to State 2 a very large decrease (c. 40%) was observed. This decrease could be prevented if leaves were maintained in either 2% O2 or 593 ppm CO2. The possible occurrence of photorespiration in maize leaves on transition from State 1 to State 2, which could result from an inhibition of the CO2 concentrating mechanism, cannot account for the decrease in the quantum efficiency of CO2 assimilation since the relationship between PSII electron transport and CO2 assimilation remained similar throughout the State transitions. Also changes in the phosphorylation status of the light-harvesting chlorophyll a/b protein associated with PSII cannot be implicated in this phenomenon.

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