Long-term adaptation of Arabidopsis thaliana to far-red light

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© 2021 The Authors. Plant, Cell & Environment published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.Vascular plants use carotenoids and chlorophylls a and b to harvest solar energy in the visible region (400–700 nm), but they make little use of the far-red (FR) light. Instead, some cyanobacteria have developed the ability to use FR light by redesigning their photosynthetic apparatus and synthesizing red-shifted chlorophylls. Implementing this strategy in plants is considered promising to increase crop yield. To prepare for this, a characterization of the FR light-induced changes in plants is necessary. Here, we explore the behaviour of Arabidopsis thaliana upon exposure to FR light by following the changes in morphology, physiology and composition of the photosynthetic complexes. We found that after FR-light treatment, the ratio between the photosystems and their antenna size drastically readjust in an attempt to rebalance the energy input to support electron transfer. Despite a large increase in PSBS accumulation, these adjustments result in strong photoinhibition when FR-adapted plants are exposed to light again. Crucially, FR light-induced changes in the photosynthetic membrane are not the result of senescence, but are a response to the excitation imbalance between the photosystems. This indicates that an increase in the FR absorption by the photosystems should be sufficient for boosting photosynthetic activity in FR light.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3002-3014
JournalPlant Cell and Environment
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2021


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