Specific thylakoid protein phosphorylations are prerequisites for overwintering of Norway spruce (Picea abies) photosynthesis.
ABSTRACT: Coping of evergreen conifers in boreal forests with freezing temperatures on bright winter days puts the photosynthetic machinery in great risk of oxidative damage. To survive harsh winter conditions, conifers have evolved a unique but poorly characterized photoprotection mechanism, a sustained form of nonphotochemical quenching (sustained NPQ). Here we focused on functional properties and underlying molecular mechanisms related to the development of sustained NPQ in Norway spruce (Picea abies). Data were collected during 4 consecutive years (2016 to 2019) from trees growing in sun and shade habitats. When day temperatures dropped below -4 °C, the specific N-terminally triply phosphorylated LHCB1 isoform (3p-LHCII) and phosphorylated PSBS (p-PSBS) could be detected in the thylakoid membrane. Development of sustained NPQ coincided with the highest level of 3p-LHCII and p-PSBS, occurring after prolonged coincidence of bright winter days and temperatures close to -10 °C. Artificial induction of both the sustained NPQ and recovery from naturally induced sustained NPQ provided information on differential dynamics and light-dependence of 3p-LHCII and p-PSBS accumulation as prerequisites for sustained NPQ. Data obtained collectively suggest three components related to sustained NPQ in spruce: 1) Freezing temperatures induce 3p-LHCII accumulation independently of light, which is suggested to initiate destacking of appressed thylakoid membranes due to increased electrostatic repulsion of adjacent membranes; 2) p-PSBS accumulation is both light- and temperature-dependent and closely linked to the initiation of sustained NPQ, which 3) in concert with PSII photoinhibition, is suggested to trigger sustained NPQ in spruce.
Project description:Coping of evergreen conifers of boreal forests with freezing temperatures on bright winter days puts the photosynthetic machinery in great risk of oxidative damage. To survive harsh winter conditions, conifers have evolved a unique but poorly characterised photoprotection mechanism, a sustained form of non-photochemical quenching (sustained NPQ). Here we focused on functional properties and underlying molecular mechanisms related to the development of sustained NPQ in Norway spruce (Picea abies). Data was collected during four consecutive years (2016-19) from trees growing in sun and shade habitats. When day temperatures dropped below -4°C, specific N-terminally triply phosphorylated LHCB1 isoform (3p-LHCII) and phosphorylated PSBS (p-PSBS) were detected in the thylakoid membrane. Development of sustained NPQ coincided with the highest level of 3p-LHCII and p-PSBS, occurring after prolonged combination of bright winter days and temperature close to -10°C. Artificial induction of both the sustained NPQ and recovery from naturally induced sustained NPQ provided information on differential dynamics and light-dependence of 3p-LHCII and p-PSBS accumulation and dephosphorylation as essential prerequisites of sustained NPQ. Data obtained collectively suggest three novel components related to sustained NPQ in spruce. (i) Freezing temperatures induce 3p-LHCII accumulation independently of light, which is suggested to initiate de-stacking of appressed thylakoid membranes due to increased electrostatic repulsion of adjacent membranes. (ii) p-PSBS accumulation is both light- and temperature-dependent and closely linked to the initiation of sustained NPQ, which (iii) in concert with PSII photoinhibition is likely to trigger sustained NPQ in spruce.
Project description:In nature, plants experience large fluctuations in light intensity and they need to balance the absorption and utilization of this energy appropriately. Non-photochemical quenching (NPQ) is a rapidly switchable mechanism that protects plants from photodamage caused by high light exposure by dissipating the excess absorbed energy as heat. It is triggered by the pH gradient across the thylakoid membrane and requires the protein PsbS and the xanthophyll zeaxanthin. However, the site and mechanism of the quencher(s) remain unknown. Here, we constructed a mutant of Arabidopsis thaliana that lacks light-harvesting complex II (LHCII), the main antenna complex of plants, to verify its contribution to NPQ. The mutant plant has normally stacked thylakoid membranes, displays no upregulation of other LHCs but shows a relative decrease in Photosystem I (PSI), which compensates for the decrease of the PSII antenna. The mutant plant exhibits a reduction in NPQ of about 60% and the remaining NPQ resembles that of mutant plants lacking chlorophyll (Chl) b, which lack all PSII peripheral antenna complexes. We thus report that PsbS-dependent NPQ occurs mainly in LHCII, but there is an additional quenching site in the PSII core.
Project description:Light-Harvesting Complex II (LHCII) is a chlorophyll-protein antenna complex that efficiently absorbs solar energy and transfers electronic excited states to photosystems I and II. Under excess light intensity LHCII can adopt a photoprotective state in which excitation energy is safely dissipated as heat, a process known as Non-Photochemical Quenching (NPQ). In vivo NPQ is triggered by combinatorial factors including transmembrane ?pH, PsbS protein and LHCII-bound zeaxanthin, leading to dramatically shortened LHCII fluorescence lifetimes. In vitro, LHCII in detergent solution or in proteoliposomes can reversibly adopt an NPQ-like state, via manipulation of detergent/protein ratio, lipid/protein ratio, pH or pressure. Previous spectroscopic investigations revealed changes in exciton dynamics and protein conformation that accompany quenching, however, LHCII-LHCII interactions have not been extensively studied. Here, we correlated fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) of trimeric LHCII adsorbed to mica substrates and manipulated the environment to cause varying degrees of quenching. AFM showed that LHCII self-assembled onto mica forming 2D-aggregates (25-150?nm width). FLIM determined that LHCII in these aggregates were in a quenched state, with much lower fluorescence lifetimes (~0.25?ns) compared to free LHCII in solution (2.2-3.9?ns). LHCII-LHCII interactions were disrupted by thylakoid lipids or phospholipids, leading to intermediate fluorescent lifetimes (0.6-0.9?ns). To our knowledge, this is the first in vitro correlation of nanoscale membrane imaging with LHCII quenching. Our findings suggest that lipids could play a key role in modulating the extent of LHCII-LHCII interactions within the thylakoid membrane and so the propensity for NPQ activation.
Project description:Under natural environments, light quality and quantity are extremely varied. To respond and acclimate to such changes, plants have developed a multiplicity of molecular regulatory mechanisms. Non-photochemical quenching of chlorophyll fluorescence (NPQ) and thylakoid protein phosphorylation are two mechanisms that protect vascular plants. To clarify the role of thylakoid protein phosphorylation in energy-dependent quenching of chlorophyll fluorescence (qE) in rice plants, we used a direct Western blot assay after BN-PAGE to detect all phosphoproteins by P-Thr antibody as well as by P-Lhcb1 and P-Lhcb2 antibodies. Isolated thylakoids in either the dark- or the light-adapted state from wild type (WT) and PsbS-KO rice plants were used for this approach to detect light-dependent interactions between PsbS, PSII, and LHCII proteins. We observed that the bands corresponding to the phosphorylated Lhcb1 and Lhcb2 as well as the other phosphorylated proteins were enhanced in the PsbS-KO mutant after illumination. The qE relaxation became slower in WT plants after 10 min HL treatment, which correlated with Lhcb1 and Lhcb2 protein phosphorylation in the LHCII trimers under the same experimental conditions. Thus, we concluded that light-induced phosphorylation of PSII core and Lhcb1/Lhcb2 proteins is enhanced in rice PsbS-KO plants which might be due to more reactive-oxygen-species production in this mutant.
Project description:Photosynthesis is tightly regulated in order to withstand dynamic light environments. Under high light intensities, a mechanism known as non-photochemical quenching (NPQ) dissipates excess excitation energy, protecting the photosynthetic machinery from damage. An obstacle that lies in the way of understanding the molecular mechanism of NPQ is the large gap between in vitro and in vivo studies. On the one hand, the complexity of the photosynthetic membrane makes it challenging to obtain molecular information from in vivo experiments. On the other hand, a suitable in vitro system for the study of quenching is not available. Here we have developed a minimal NPQ system using proteoliposomes. With this, we demonstrate that the combination of low pH and PsbS is both necessary and sufficient to induce quenching in LHCII, the main antenna complex of plants. This proteoliposome system can be further exploited to gain more insight into how PsbS and other factors (e.g. zeaxanthin) influence the quenching mechanism observed in LHCII.
Project description:Plants are subject to dramatic fluctuations in the intensity of sunlight throughout the day. When the photosynthetic machinery is exposed to high light, photons are absorbed in excess, potentially leading to oxidative damage of its delicate membrane components. A photoprotective molecular process called non-photochemical quenching (NPQ) is the fastest response carried out in the thylakoid membranes to harmlessly dissipate excess light energy. Despite having been intensely studied, the site and mechanism of this essential regulatory process are still debated. Here, we show that the main NPQ component called energy-dependent quenching (qE) is present in plants with photosynthetic membranes largely enriched in the major trimeric light-harvesting complex (LHC) II, while being deprived of all minor LHCs and most photosystem core proteins. This fast and reversible quenching depends upon thylakoid lumen acidification (ΔpH). Enhancing ΔpH amplifies the extent of the quenching and restores qE in the membranes lacking PSII subunit S protein (PsbS), whereas the carotenoid zeaxanthin modulates the kinetics and amplitude of the quenching. These findings highlight the self-regulatory properties of the photosynthetic light-harvesting membranes in vivo, where the ability to switch reversibly between the harvesting and dissipative states is an intrinsic property of the major LHCII.
Project description:Non-photochemical quenching, NPQ, of chlorophyll fluorescence regulates the heat dissipation of chlorophyll excited states and determines the efficiency of the oxygenic photosynthetic systems. NPQ is regulated by a pH-sensing protein, responding to the chloroplast lumen acidification induced by excess light, coupled to an actuator, a chlorophyll/xanthophyll subunit where quenching reactions are catalyzed. In plants, the sensor is PSBS, while the two pigment-binding proteins Lhcb4 (also known as CP29) and LHCII are the actuators. In algae and mosses, stress-related light-harvesting proteins (LHCSR) comprise both functions of sensor and actuator within a single subunit. Here, we report on expressing the lhcsr1 gene from the moss Physcomitrella patens into several Arabidopsis thaliana npq4 mutants lacking the pH sensing PSBS protein essential for NPQ activity. The heterologous protein LHCSR1 accumulates in thylakoids of A. thaliana and NPQ activity can be partially restored. Complementation of double mutants lacking, besides PSBS, specific xanthophylls, allowed analyzing chromophore requirement for LHCSR-dependent quenching activity. We show that the partial recovery of NPQ is mostly due to the lower levels of Zeaxanthin in A. thaliana in comparison to P. patens. Complemented npq2npq4 mutants, lacking besides PSBS, Zeaxanthin Epoxidase, showed an NPQ recovery of up to 70% in comparison to A. thaliana wild type. Furthermore, we show that Lutein is not essential for the folding nor for the quenching activity of LHCSR1. In short, we have developed a system to study the function of LHCSR proteins using heterologous expression in a variety of A. thaliana mutants.
Project description:Nonphotochemical quenching (NPQ) is a mechanism of regulating light harvesting that protects the photosynthetic apparatus from photodamage by dissipating excess absorbed excitation energy as heat. In higher plants, the major light-harvesting antenna complex (LHCII) of photosystem (PS) II is directly involved in NPQ. The aggregation of LHCII is proposed to be involved in quenching. However, the lack of success in isolating native LHCII aggregates has limited the direct interrogation of this process. The isolation of LHCII in its native state from thylakoid membranes has been problematic because of the use of detergent, which tends to dissociate loosely bound proteins, and the abundance of pigment-protein complexes (e.g. PSI and PSII) embedded in the photosynthetic membrane, which hinders the preparation of aggregated LHCII. Here, we used a novel purification method employing detergent and amphipols to entrap LHCII in its natural states. To enrich the photosynthetic membrane with the major LHCII, we used Arabidopsis thaliana plants lacking the PSII minor antenna complexes (NoM), treated with lincomycin to inhibit the synthesis of PSI and PSII core proteins. Using sucrose density gradients, we succeeded in isolating the trimeric and aggregated forms of LHCII antenna. Violaxanthin- and zeaxanthin-enriched complexes were investigated in dark-adapted, NPQ, and dark recovery states. Zeaxanthin-enriched antenna complexes showed the greatest amount of aggregated LHCII. Notably, the amount of aggregated LHCII decreased upon relaxation of NPQ. Employing this novel preparative method, we obtained a direct evidence for the role of in vivo LHCII aggregation in NPQ.
Project description:Plants adapt to fluctuating light conditions by a process called non-photochemical quenching (NPQ), where membrane protein PsbS plays a crucial role and transforms a change in the pH-gradient across the thylakoid membrane under excess light conditions into a photoprotective state, leading to de-excitation of antenna chlorophylls. The PsbS activation mechanism is elusive and has been proposed to involve a monomerization step and protonation of specific residues. To elucidate its function, it is essential to produce PsbS in large quantities, stabilize PsbS in a membrane-mimicking environment and analyze its pH-dependent conformational structure. We present an approach for large-scale in-vitro production and spectroscopic characterization of PsbS under controlled, non-crystalline conditions. We produced PsbS of the moss Physcomitrella patens in milligram quantities in E. coli, refolded PsbS in several detergent types and analyzed its conformation at neutral and low pH by Dynamic Light Scattering and NMR spectroscopy. Our results reveal that at both pH conditions, PsbS exist as dimers or in apparent monomer-dimer equilibria. Lowering of the pH induces conformational changes, destabilizes the dimer state and shifts the equilibria towards the monomeric form. In vivo, a similar response upon thylakoid lumen acidification may tune PsbS activity in a gradual manner.
Project description:The photosystem II (PSII) protein PsbS and the enzyme violaxanthin deepoxidase (VDE) are known to influence the dynamics of energy-dependent quenching (qE), the component of nonphotochemical quenching (NPQ) that allows plants to respond to fast fluctuations in light intensity. Although the absence of PsbS and VDE has been shown to change the amount of quenching, there have not been any measurements that can detect whether the presence of these proteins alters the type of quenching that occurs. The chlorophyll fluorescence lifetime probes the excited-state chlorophyll relaxation dynamics and can be used to determine the amount of quenching as well as whether two different genotypes with the same amount of NPQ have similar dynamics of excited-state chlorophyll relaxation. We measured the fluorescence lifetimes on whole leaves of Arabidopsis thaliana throughout the induction and relaxation of NPQ for wild type and the qE mutants, npq4, which lacks PsbS; npq1, which lacks VDE and cannot convert violaxanthin to zeaxanthin; and npq1 npq4, which lacks both VDE and PsbS. These measurements show that although PsbS changes the amount of quenching and the rate at which quenching turns on, it does not affect the relaxation dynamics of excited chlorophyll during quenching. In addition, the data suggest that PsbS responds not only to ?pH but also to the ?? across the thylakoid membrane. In contrast, the presence of VDE, which is necessary for the accumulation of zeaxanthin, affects the excited-state chlorophyll relaxation dynamics.