A chloroplast thylakoid lumen protein is required for proper photosynthetic acclimation of plants under fluctuating light environments [Plant Biology]
Despite our increasingly sophisticated understanding of mechanisms ensuring efficient photosynthesis under laboratory-controlled light conditions, less is known about the regulation of photosynthesis under fluctuating light. This is important because—in nature—photosynthetic organisms experience rapid and extreme changes in sunlight, potentially causing deleterious effects on photosynthetic efficiency and productivity. Here we report that the chloroplast thylakoid lumenal protein MAINTENANCE OF PHOTOSYSTEM II UNDER HIGH LIGHT 2 (MPH2; encoded by At4g02530) is required for growth acclimation of Arabidopsis thaliana plants under controlled photoinhibitory light and fluctuating light environments. Evidence is presented that mph2 mutant light stress susceptibility results from a defect in photosystem II (PSII) repair, and our results are consistent with the hypothesis that MPH2 is involved in disassembling monomeric complexes during regeneration of dimeric functional PSII supercomplexes. Moreover, mph2—and previously characterized PSII repair-defective mutants—exhibited reduced growth under fluctuating light conditions, while PSII photoprotection-impaired mutants did not. These findings suggest that repair is not only required for PSII maintenance under static high-irradiance light conditions but is also a regulatory mechanism facilitating photosynthetic adaptation under fluctuating light environments. This work has implications for improvement of agricultural plant productivity through engineering PSII repair.
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