Consequences of the reduction of the Photosystem II antenna size on the light acclimation capacity of Arabidopsis thaliana

Ludwik W. Bielczynski, Gert Schansker, Roberta Croce*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In several systems, from plant's canopy to algal bioreactors, the decrease of the antenna size has been proposed as a strategy to increase the photosynthetic efficiency. However, still little is known about possible secondary effects of such modifications. This is particularly relevant because the modulation of the antenna size is one of the most important light acclimation responses in photosynthetic organisms. In our study, we used an Arabidopsis thaliana mutant (dLhcb2), which has a 60% decrease of Lhcb1 and Lhcb2, the two main components of the major Photosystem II antenna complex. We show that the mutant maintains the photosynthetic and photoprotective capacity of the Wild Type (WT) and adapts to different light conditions by remodelling its photosynthetic apparatus, but the regulatory mechanism differs from that of the WT. Surprisingly, it does not compensate for the decreased light-harvesting capacity by increasing other pigment-protein complexes. Instead, it lowers the ratio of the cytochrome b6f and ATP synthase to the photosystems, regulating linear electron flow and maintaining the photosynthetic control at the level of these complexes as in the WT. We show that targeting the reduction of two specific antenna proteins, Lhcb1 and Lhcb2, represents a viable solution to obtain plants with a truncated antenna size, which still maintain the capacity to acclimate to different light conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)866-879
Number of pages14
JournalPlant Cell and Environment
Issue number4
Early online date13 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020


  • antenna size reduction
  • dLhcb2
  • light acclimation
  • long-term acclimation
  • photoprotection
  • photosynthesis
  • photosystem II antenna size
  • short-term acclimation


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