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Rapid regulation of excitation energy in two pennate diatoms from contrasting light climates

Derks, Allen K., Bruce, Doug
Photosynthesis research 2018 v.138 no.2 pp. 149-165
Navicula, Nitzschia, absorption, algae, chlorophyll, climate, dithiothreitol, energy, landscapes, lutein, photochemistry, photosystem II, shorelines, thylakoids
Non-photochemical quenching (NPQ) is a fast acting photoprotective response to high light stress triggered by over excitation of photosystem II. The mechanism for NPQ in the globally important diatom algae has been principally attributed to a xanthophyll cycle, analogous to the well-described qE quenching of higher plants. This study compared the short-term NPQ responses in two pennate, benthic diatom species cultured under identical conditions but which originate from unique light climates. Variable chlorophyll fluorescence was used to monitor photochemical and non-photochemical excitation energy dissipation during high light transitions; whereas whole cell steady state 77 K absorption and emission were used to measure high light elicited changes in the excited state landscapes of the thylakoid. The marine shoreline species Nitzschia curvilineata was found to have an antenna system capable of entering a deeply quenched, yet reversible state in response to high light, with NPQ being highly sensitive to dithiothreitol (a known inhibitor of the xanthophyll cycle). Conversely, the salt flat species Navicula sp. 110-1 exhibited a less robust NPQ that remained largely locked-in after the light stress was removed; however, a lower amplitude, but now highly reversible NPQ persisted in cells treated with dithiothreitol. Furthermore, dithiothreitol inhibition of NPQ had no functional effect on the ability of Navicula cells to balance PSII excitation/de-excitation. These different approaches for non-photochemical excitation energy dissipation are discussed in the context of native light climate.