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Plant Physiol. 1999 Sep;121(1):89-96.

Chloroplast acclimation in leaves of Guzmania monostachia in response to high light.

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  • 1Department of Agricultural and Environmental Science, King George VI Building, The University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, United Kingdom.


Acclimation of leaves to high light (HL; 650 micromol m(-2) s(-1)) was investigated in the long-lived epiphytic bromeliad Guzmania monostachia and compared with plants maintained under low light (LL; 50 micromol m(-2) s(-1)). Despite a 60% decrease in total chlorophyll in HL-grown plants, the chlorophyll a/b ratio remained stable. Additionally, chloroplasts from HL-grown plants had a much lower thylakoid content and reduced granal stacking. Immunofluorescent labeling techniques were used to quantify the level of photosynthetic polypeptides. HL-grown plants had 30% to 40% of the content observed in LL-grown plants for the light-harvesting complex associated with photosystems I and II, the 33-kD photosystem II polypeptide, and Rubisco. These results were verified using conventional biochemical techniques, which revealed a comparable 60% decrease in Rubisco and total soluble protein. When expressed on a chlorophyll basis, the amount of protein and Rubisco was constant for HL- and LL-grown plants. Acclimation to HL involves a tightly coordinated adjustment of photosynthesis, indicating a highly regulated decrease in the number of photosynthetic units manifested at the level of the content of light-harvesting and electron transport components, the amount of Rubisco, and the induction of Crassulacean acid metabolism. This response occurs in mature leaves and may represent a strategy that is optimal for the resource-limited epiphytic niche.

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