Biochemical models are used to predict and understand the response of photosynthesis to rising temperatures and CO2 partial pressures. These models require the temperature dependency of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/ oxygenase (Rubisco) kinetics and mesophyll conductance to CO2 (gm). However, it is not known how the temperature response of Rubisco kinetics differs between species, and comprehensive in vivo Rubisco kinetics that include gm have only been determined in the warm-adapted Nicotiana tabacum. Here, we measured the temperature response of Rubisco kinetics and gm in N. tabacum and the cold-adapted Arabidopsis thaliana using gas exchange and 13 CO2 isotopic discrimination on plants with genetically reduced levels of Rubisco. While the individual Rubisco kinetic parameters in N. tabacum and A. thaliana were similar across temperatures, they collectively resulted in significantly different modelled rates of photosynthesis. Additionally, gm increased with temperature in N. tabacum but not in A. thaliana. These findings highlight the importance of considering speciesdependent differences in Rubisco kinetics and gm when modelling the temperature response of photosynthesis.
Photorespiration is essential for C 3 plants but operates at the massive expense of fixed carbon dioxide and energy. Photorespiration is initiated when the initial enzyme of photosynthesis, ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/ oxygenase (Rubisco), reacts with oxygen instead of carbon dioxide and produces a toxic compound that is then recycled by photorespiration. Photorespiration can be modeled at the canopy and regional scales to determine its cost under current and future atmospheres. A regional-scale model reveals that photorespiration currently decreases US soybean and wheat yields by 36% and 20%, respectively, and a 5% decrease in the losses due to photorespiration would be worth approximately $500 million annually in the United States. Furthermore, photorespiration will continue to impact yield under future climates despite increases in carbon dioxide, with models suggesting a 12-55% improvement in gross photosynthesis in the absence of photorespiration, even under climate change scenarios predicting the largest increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. Although photorespiration is tied to other important metabolic functions, the benefit of improving its efficiency appears to outweigh any potential secondary disadvantages.
Rapidly changing light conditions can reduce carbon gain and productivity in field crops because photosynthetic responses to light fluctuations are not instantaneous. Plant responses to fluctuating light occur across levels of organizational complexity from entire canopies to the biochemistry of a single reaction and across orders of magnitude of time. Although light availability and variation at the top of the canopy are largely dependent on the solar angle and degree of cloudiness, lower crop canopies rely more heavily on light in the form of sunflecks, the quantity of which depends mostly on canopy structure but also may be affected by wind. The ability of leaf photosynthesis to respond rapidly to these variations in light intensity is restricted by the relatively slow opening/ closing of stomata, activation/deactivation of C 3 cycle enzymes, and up-regulation/down-regulation of photoprotective processes. The metabolic complexity of C 4 photosynthesis creates the apparently contradictory possibilities that C 4 photosynthesis may be both more and less resilient than C 3 to dynamic light regimes, depending on the frequency at which these light fluctuations occur. We review the current understanding of the underlying mechanisms of these limitations to photosynthesis in fluctuating light that have shown promise in improving the response times of photosynthesis-related processes to changes in light intensity.
Respiration in the light (RL) releases CO2 in photosynthesizing leaves and is a phenomenon that occurs independently from photorespiration. Since RL lowers net carbon fixation, understanding RL could help improve plant carbon-use efficiency and models of crop photosynthesis. Although RL was identified more than 75 years ago, its biochemical mechanisms remain unclear. To identify reactions contributing to RL, we mapped metabolic fluxes in photosynthesizing source leaves of the oilseed crop and model plant camelina (Camelina sativa). We performed a flux analysis using isotopic labeling patterns of central metabolites during 13CO2 labeling time course, gas exchange and carbohydrate production rate experiments. To quantify the contributions of multiple potential CO2 sources with statistical and biological confidence, we increased the number of metabolites measured and reduced biological and technical heterogeneity by using single mature source leaves and quickly quenching metabolism by directly injecting liquid N2; we then compared the goodness-of-fit between these data and data from models with alternative metabolic network structures and constraints. Our analysis predicted that RL releases 5.2 μmol CO2 g−1 FW hr−1 of CO2, which is relatively consistent with a value of 9.3 μmol CO2 g−1 FW hr−1 measured by CO2 gas exchange. The results indicated that ≤10% of RL results from TCA cycle reactions, which are widely considered to dominate RL. Further analysis of the results indicated that oxidation of glucose-6-phosphate to pentose phosphate via 6-phosphogluconate (the G6P/OPP shunt) can account for >93% of CO2 released by RL.
Recycling of the 2-phosphoglycolate generated by the oxygenase reaction of Rubisco requires a complex and energy-consuming set of reactions collectively known as the photorespiratory cycle. Several approaches aimed at reducing the rates of photorespiratory energy or carbon loss have been proposed, based either on screening for natural variation or by means of genetic engineering. Recent work indicates that plant yield can be substantially improved by the alteration of photorespiratory fluxes or by engineering artificial bypasses to photorespiration. However, there is also evidence indicating that, under certain environmental and/or nutritional conditions, reduced photorespiratory capacity may be detrimental to plant performance. Here we summarize recent advances obtained in photorespiratory engineering and discuss prospects for these advances to be transferred to major crops to help address the globally increasing demand for food and biomass production.
Photosynthesis captures light energy to produce ATP and NADPH. These molecules are consumed in the conversion of CO 2 to sugar, photorespiration, and NO 3 2 assimilation. The production and consumption of ATP and NADPH must be balanced to prevent photoinhibition or photodamage. This balancing may occur via cyclic electron flow around photosystem I (CEF), which increases ATP/NADPH production during photosynthetic electron transport; however, it is not clear under what conditions CEF changes with ATP/NADPH demand. Measurements of chlorophyll fluorescence and dark interval relaxation kinetics were used to determine the contribution of CEF in balancing ATP/NADPH in hydroponically grown Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) supplied different forms of nitrogen (nitrate versus ammonium) under changes in atmospheric CO 2 and oxygen. Measurements of CEF were made under low and high light and compared with ATP/NADPH demand estimated from CO 2 gas exchange. Under low light, contributions of CEF did not shift despite an up to 17% change in modeled ATP/NADPH demand. Under high light, CEF increased under photorespiratory conditions (high oxygen and low CO 2 ), consistent with a primary role in energy balancing. However, nitrogen form had little impact on rates of CEF under high or low light. We conclude that, according to modeled ATP/ NADPH demand, CEF responded to energy demand under high light but not low light. These findings suggest that other mechanisms, such as the malate valve and the Mehler reaction, were able to maintain energy balance when electron flow was low but that CEF was required under higher flow.Photosynthesis must balance both the amount of energy harvested by the light reactions and how it is stored to match metabolic demands. Light energy is harvested by the photosynthetic antenna complexes and stored by the electron and proton transfer complexes as ATP and NADPH. It is used primarily to meet the energy demands for assimilating carbon (from CO 2 ) and nitrogen (from NO 3 2 and NH 4 + ; Keeling et al., 1976;Edwards and Walker, 1983;Miller et al., 2007). These processes require different ratios of ATP and NADPH, requiring a finely balanced output of energy in these forms. For example, if ATP were to be consumed at a greater rate than NADPH, electron transport would rapidly become limiting by the lack of NADP + , decreasing rates of proton translocation and ATP regeneration. Alternatively, if NADPH were consumed faster than ATP, proton translocation through ATP synthase would be reduced due to limiting ADP and the difference in pH between lumen and stroma would increase, restricting plastoquinol oxidation at the cytochrome b 6 f complex and initiating nonphotochemical quenching (Kanazawa and Kramer, 2002). The stoichiometric balancing of ATP and NADPH must occur rapidly, because pool sizes of ATP and NADPH are relatively small and fluxes through primary metabolism are large (Noctor and Foyer, 2000;Avenson et al., 2005;Cruz et al., 2005;Amthor, 2010).The balancing of ATP and NADPH supply is further complicated...
There is a growing interest in accurate and comparable measurements of the CO2 photocompensation point (Γ*), a vital parameter to model leaf photosynthesis. The Γ* is measured as the common intersection of several CO2 response curves, but this method may incorrectly estimate Γ* by using linear fits to extrapolate curvilinear responses and single conductances to convert intercellular photocompensation points (Ci *) to chloroplastic Γ*. To determine the magnitude and minimize the impact of these artefacts on Γ* determinations, we used a combination of meta-analysis, modelling and original measurements to develop a framework to accurately determine Ci *. Our modelling indicated that the impact of using linear fits could be minimized based on the measurement CO2 range. We also propose a novel method of analysing common intersection measurements using slope-intercept regression. Our modelling indicated that slope-intercept regression is a robust analytical tool that can help determine if a measurement is biased because of multiple internal conductances to CO2 . Application of slope-intercept regression to Nicotiana tabacum and Glycine max revealed that multiple conductances likely have little impact to Ci * measurements in these species. These findings present a robust and easy to apply protocol to help resolve key questions concerning CO2 conductance through leaves.
Recycling of carbon by the photorespiratory pathway involves enzymatic steps in the chloroplast, mitochondria, and peroxisomes. Most of these reactions are essential for plants growing under ambient CO(2) concentrations. However, some disruptions of photorespiratory metabolism cause subtle phenotypes in plants grown in air. For example, Arabidopsis thaliana lacking both of the peroxisomal malate dehydrogenase genes (pmdh1pmdh2) or hydroxypyruvate reductase (hpr1) are viable in air and have rates of photosynthesis only slightly lower than wild-type plants. To investigate how disruption of the peroxisomal reduction of hydroxypyruvate to glycerate influences photorespiratory carbon metabolism we analyzed leaf gas exchange in A. thaliana plants lacking peroxisomal HPR1 expression. In addition, because the lack of HPR1 could be compensated for by other reactions within the peroxisomes using reductant supplied by PMDH a triple mutant lacking expression of both peroxisomal PMDH genes and HPR1 (pmdh1pmdh2hpr1) was analyzed. Rates of photosynthesis under photorespiratory conditions (ambient CO(2) and O(2) concentrations) were slightly reduced in the hpr1 and pmdh1pmdh2hpr1 plants indicating other reactions can help bypass this disruption in the photorespiratory pathway. However, the CO(2) compensation points (Γ) increased under photorespiratory conditions in both mutants indicating changes in photorespiratory carbon metabolism in these plants. Measurements of Γ*, the CO(2) compensation point in the absence of mitochondrial respiration, and the CO(2) released per Rubisco oxygenation reaction demonstrated that the increase in Γ in the hpr1 and pmdh1pmdh2hpr1 plants is not associated with changes in mitochondrial respiration but with an increase in the non-respiratory CO(2) released per Rubisco oxygenation reaction.
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