Munich [Germany], December 26 (ANI): Plants are often grown in constant light for research purposes, which do not mimic outdoor conditions. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam-Golm (Germany) and the College of Natural Science at Michigan State University (USA) demonstrate the importance of two important proteins for the dynamic regulation of photosynthesis in a series of experiments by changing . light conditions, which mimic the natural combination of light and shadow.
The study’s findings were published in the journal New Phytologist.
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Plants do photosynthesis to grow. In this process they use energy from sunlight, release oxygen, and produce carbohydrates, which are the basic food for all humans and almost all animals on earth. Under natural conditions, the availability of light can change rapidly in a very short period of time. One of the main reasons is the clouds that cast light and shadow when they pass in front of the sun. Plant leaves and branches can also provide temporary shade when blown by the wind. Plants cannot move from the shade to the sun when the light is limited, and on the other hand, they cannot avoid moving from the sun to the shade when they are exposed to too much sunlight. They must respond to changing light conditions in other ways.
Just like with humans, too much sunlight is harmful to plants. In particular, the rapid transition between weak and strong light is a problem. Like the retina in our eyes, plants use molecules in their leaves to capture light particles. When the light is low, these light traps work very well to catch as much of the low light as possible. If light conditions change suddenly, too much light can reach the plant. This energy can overload or damage the photosynthetic apparatus in plant cells. Therefore, plants must constantly adjust their photosynthetic activity according to their environmental conditions in order to obtain a high yield on the one hand, but on the other hand avoid being harmed by light. a lot.
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Until now, plants in greenhouses and laboratories are grown almost under constant and uniform light conditions. Therefore, our understanding of how adaptation to changing light conditions works is very limited. In the worst case, this can lead to plants that grow well in laboratories and greenhouses but suddenly do worse than expected when grown in the field.
Regulation of photosynthesis under changing light conditions
Researchers around Ute Armbruster from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam-Golm and David Kramer from the College of Natural Science at Michigan State University (USA) examined the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana for their study . Plants were grown under a variety of different conditions including static, fluctuating and natural light. This study focuses on two ion transport proteins called VCCN1 and KEA3 that play an important role in regulating the photosynthetic process. It is known from previous studies that VCCN1 activates the sun’s defenses if the light suddenly becomes too intense. When the light intensity decreases, the second protein KEA3 quickly destroys this sun protection so that the plant can get more light again. However, the two proteins VCCN1 and KEA3 have not been analyzed under real light conditions.
The researchers used a new method to measure photosynthesis in combination with targeted genetic manipulation – that is, plants whose VCCN1 and KEA3 genes had been turned off. They show that the activities of the proteins VCCN1 and KEA3 depend on the light conditions in which the plants are grown. According to the recommendations of the head of the Group of Plant Plant, Dr. Karin Kohl, the researchers focused on two light factors related to the growth of the test and were able to show that the amount of light that the plant receives, and the frequency of light changes have an impact strong in the function of two ion transporters. The defense function of VCCN1 is only important in plants that were grown before low light. On the other hand, KEA3, which eliminates the defense, was active even during periods of high light when the plants were grown under high light conditions.
Sun protection also depends on the amount of light changes that the plants are exposed to. When light conditions change too much, plants produce the orange pigment zeaxanthin, which is also involved in sun protection. The production of this sunscreen is suppressed by KEA3 under high light conditions as well.
“Our study shows that we don’t have to look separately at the effect of light on growth and rapid responses to changes in light,” said lead author of the study Thekla von Bismarck, adding , “The integration of multiple time scales and metabolic conditions in a more complex way. will be a major challenge in the future of crop research. This will provide important ideas to improve crop yields in the field .” (ANI)
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