Accelerated relaxation of photoprotection impairs biomass accumulation in Arabidopsis

Abstract

Faster onset of photoprotection could potentially increase biomass accumulation. Indeed, this has been realized in tobacco VPZ lines by overexpression of three photoprotective proteins in parallel. To explore the range of application of this approach, we generated Arabidopsis VPZ lines. These lines triggered photoprotection more rapidly, but growth rate and biomass accumulation were impaired under fluctuating light. This implies that the strategy might interfere with other mechanisms controlling excitation energy distribution, or with source–sink relationships or plastid signalling.

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Fig. 1: Expression of VDE, PsbS and ZEP in Arabidopsis VPZ lines.
Fig. 2: Arabidopsis VPZ lines display enhanced dynamics of photoprotection.
Fig. 3: Growth and biomass accumulation in Arabidopsis VPZ lines.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft for funding (no. TRR 175, Z1) and K. Niyogi for sharing the VPZ construct.

Author information

D.L. conceived the project. A.G.-M. and D.L. designed the experiments. A.G.-M. performed the experiments and analysed data. A.G.-M. and D.L. wrote the manuscript.

Correspondence to Dario Leister.

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

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Peer review information Nature Plants thanks Christine Foyer and other, anonymous, reviewers for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Extended data

Extended Data Fig. 1 Arabidopsis VPZ lines display enhanced dynamics of photoprotection under the fluctuating light regime FL1.

The experiment was carried out as described in Fig. 2a, except that the fluctuating light regime FL1 (6 cycles of 3 min at 50 μmol photons m-2 s-1 and 3 min at 500 μmol photons m-2 s-1) was applied. Dots represent the mean of n = 8 independent experiments and statistical differences for the three lines (nos. 2, 4 and 7) to WT according to a two-tailed Student’s t-test (P 0.05) are indicated with asterisks (*). Source data

Extended Data Fig. 2 Electron transport rate (ETR) and NPQ in response to steady-state or fluctuating light regimes.

a, Design for steady-state (left) or fluctuating light (FL3) (right) response curves. b, c, Electron transport rate (ETR), defined as µmol photons, (b) and NPQ (c) in 4-week-old wild-type (WT) and 3 independent VPZ lines (nos. 2, 4 and 7). Dots represent the mean of n = 7 independent experiments. Corresponding data for standard deviations and statistical differences from WT according to a two-tailed Student’s t-test can be found as Source Data. Source data

Extended Data Fig. 3 Photosynthetic response to extended exposure to high light.

Four-week-old wild-type (Col-0) and 3 independent VPZ lines (nos. 2, 4 and 7) grown under 12 h light/12 dark cycles (see Methods) were dark-adapted (20 min) to determine minimal and maximal fluorescence (Fo, Fm), then exposed to high light (500 μmol photons m-2 s-1) for 2 h and partially dark-adapted (10 min) to monitor Fo’ and Fm’. Photoprotection index, residual NPQ and maximum quantum yield of PSII (Fv/Fm) after partial dark adaptation are presented. Data are presented as the mean ± s.d. for n = 16 independent plants (indicated in circles) from 4 independent experiments and statistical differences from WT according to a two-tailed Student’s t-test (P ≤ 0.05) are indicated. Source data

Extended Data Fig. 4 Growth and biomass accumulation in Arabidopsis VPZ lines under different light conditions.

a, Image of representative 3-week-old plants grown under CL conditions as in Fig. 3 and then exposed to high light (500 µmol photons m-2 s-1) for 1 week (HL); or cultivated for 4 weeks under continuous light (125 µmol photons m-2 s-1; CONT) or short day conditions (8 h at 125 µmol photons m-2 s-1, 16 h dark; SD). Bar: 1 cm. b,c, Statistical analysis of sets of plants with respect to rosette diameter (b) and fresh weight (c) grown as in panel a. Data are presented as the mean ± s.d. for n = 3 (HL) or 4 (CONT and SD) independent experiments indicated in circles and statistical differences to WT according to a two-tailed Student’s t-test (P ≤ 0.05) are provided. Source data

Extended Data Fig. 5 Photosynthetic efficiency of Arabidopsis VPZ lines under different abiotic stresses.

WT (Col-0) and the three VPZ lines were cultivated for two weeks on soil under standard conditions (16 h at 22 °C and 125 µmol photons m-2 s-1; 8 h dark at 18 °C) (before treatment) and transferred to conditions with increased light intensity (500 µmol photons m-2 s-1, HL); continuous 32 °C (heat), or 4 °C and reduced light intensity (35 µmol photons m-2 s-1) (cold) or left under the standard conditions (control) for 4 days. The maximum quantum yield of photosystem II (Fv/Fm) was determined. Data are presented as the mean ± s.d. for n = 3 independent experiments indicated in circles and statistical differences to WT according to a two-tailed Student’s t-test (P ≤ 0.05) are shown. Source data

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Garcia-Molina, A., Leister, D. Accelerated relaxation of photoprotection impairs biomass accumulation in Arabidopsis. Nat. Plants 6, 9–12 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41477-019-0572-z

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