Peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) is a globally important oil crop, which often experiences poor growth and seedling necrosis under low nocturnal temperatures (LNT). This study assessed the effects of supplementary calcium (Ca 2+ ) and a calmodulin inhibitor on peanut growth and photosynthetic characteristics of plants exposed to LNT, followed by recovery at a higher temperature. We monitored key growth and photosynthetic parameters in a climate-controlled chamber in pots containing soil. LNT reduced peanut growth and dry matter accumulation, enhanced leaf nonstructural carbohydrates concentrations and non-photochemical quenching, decreased the electron transport rate, increased the transmembrane proton gradient, and decreased gas exchange rates. In peanuts subjected to LNT, foliar application of Ca 2+ restored growth, dry matter production and leaf photosynthetic capacity. In particular, the foliar Ca 2+ application restored temperature-dependent photosynthesis feedback inhibition due to improved growth/ sink demand. Foliar sprays of a calmodulin inhibitor further deteriorated the effects of LNT which validated the protective role of Ca 2+ in facilitating LNT tolerance of peanuts.
Arachis hypogaea (peanut) is a globally important oilseed crop with high nutritional value. However, upon exposure to overnight chilling stress, it shows poor growth and seedling necrosis in many cultivation areas worldwide. Calcium (Ca2+) enhances chilling resistance in various plant species. We undertook a pot experiment to investigate the effects of exogenous Ca2+ and a calmodulin (CaM) inhibitor on growth and photosynthetic characteristics of peanut exposed to low night temperature (LNT) stress following warm sunny days. The LNT stress reduced growth, leaf extension, biomass accumulation, gas exchange rates, and photosynthetic electron transport rates. Following LNT stress, we observed larger starch grains and a concomitant increase in nonstructural carbohydrates and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) concentrations. The LNT stress further induced photoinhibition and caused structural damage to the chloroplast grana. Exogenous Ca2+ enhanced plant growth following LNT stress, possibly by allowing continued export of carbohydrates from leaves. Foliar Ca2+ likely alleviated the nocturnal chilling-dependent feedback limitation on photosynthesis in the daytime by increasing sink demand. The foliar Ca2+ pretreatment protected the photosystems from photoinhibition by facilitating cyclic electron flow (CEF) and decreasing the proton gradient (ΔpH) across thylakoid membranes during LNT stress. Foliar application of a CaM inhibitor increased the negative impact of LNT stress on photosynthetic processes, confirming that Ca2+–CaM played an important role in alleviating photosynthetic inhibition due to the overnight chilling-dependent feedback.
The cyclic electron transport (CET), after the linear electron transport (LET), is another important electron transport pathway during the light reactions of photosynthesis. The proton gradient regulation 5 (PGR5)/PRG5-like photosynthetic phenotype 1 (PGRL1) and the NADH dehydrogenase-like complex pathways are linked to the CET. Recently, the regulation of CET around photosystem I (PSI) has been recognized as crucial for photosynthesis and plant growth. Here, we summarized the main biochemical processes of the PGR5/PGRL1-dependent CET pathway and its physiological significance in protecting the photosystem II and PSI, ATP/NADPH ratio maintenance, and regulating the transitions between LET and CET in order to optimize photosynthesis when encountering unfavorable conditions. A better understanding of the PGR5/PGRL1-mediated CET during photosynthesis might provide novel strategies for improving crop yield in a world facing more extreme weather events with multiple stresses affecting the plants.
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