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An exceptional irradiance-induced decrease of light trapping in two Tradescantia species: an unexpected relationship with the leaf architecture and zeaxanthin-mediated photoprotection

Ptushenko, V. V., Ptushenko, O. S., Samoilova, O. P., Solovchenko, A. E.
Biologia plantarum 2016 v.60 no.2 pp. 385-393
Tradescantia, acclimation, chloroplasts, correlation, leaves, light intensity, lutein, mesophyll, ontogeny, photostability, photosystem II, transmittance, trapping
Leaf anatomy and irradiance-dependent leaf transmittance changes serving as irradiance acclimation mechanisms in leaves were studied in two ecologically contrasting Tradescantia species, a shade plant T. fluminensis Vell. and a sun plant T. sillamontana Matuda, grown at different irradiances. A dramatic increase in leaf thickness (2 to 4-fold) under a high growth irradiance (800 μmol m⁻² s⁻¹) compared with a low growth irradiance (60 μmol m⁻² s⁻¹), achieved mainly by expansion of the epidermis, was recorded in both species. The effect took place on the background of modest changes in mesophyll thickness (1.8-fold in T. fluminensis and 1.15-fold in T. sillamontana) and chloroplast size (0.8-fold in T. fluminensis and an insignificant change in T. sillamontana). Mesophyll structure and growth irradiance response did not seem to facilitate significantly light-dependent chloroplast (avoidance) movement in these species. Nevertheless, an exceptionally large (2 to 4-fold) irradiance-induced increase in light transmittance attributable to chloroplast avoidance movement was revealed. This increase by far exceeded that in other higher plants according to available literature. The magnitude of the irradiance-dependent transmittance changes positively correlated both with the rate of photosystem II recovery and with the extent of xanthophyll deepoxidation in the leaves. This was opposite to a negative correlation observed between the same parameters in different plant species. We hypothesize that, at the evolutionary timescale, chloroplast avoidance movement might adjust independently from other photoprotective mechanisms, e.g., non-photochemical quenching, whereas, on the ontogenetic timescale, adjustment of these mechanisms inevitably follows the same trend.