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Plant J. 2001 May;26(3):317-27.

Coregulation of light-harvesting complex II phosphorylation and lhcb mRNA accumulation in winter rye.

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Department of Biology, University of Turku, FIN-20014 Turku, Finland.


Winter rye plants grown under contrasting environmental conditions or just transiently shifted to varying light and temperature conditions, were studied to elucidate the chloroplast signal involved in regulation of photosynthesis genes in the nucleus. Photosystem II excitation pressure, reflecting the plastoquinone redox state, and the phosphorylation level of thylakoid light-harvesting proteins (LHCII and CP29) were monitored together with changes occurring in the accumulation of lhcb, rbcS and psbA mRNAs. Short-term shifts of plants to changed conditions, from 1 h to 2 d, were postulated to reveal signals crucial for the initiation of the acclimation process. Comparison of these results with those obtained from plants acclimated during several weeks' growth at contrasting temperature and in different light regimes, allow us to make the following conclusions: (1) LHCII protein phosphoylation is a sensitive tool to monitor redox changes in chloroplasts; (2) LHCII protein phosphorylation and lhcb mRNA accumulation occur under similar conditions and are possibly coregulated via an activation state of the same kinase (the LHCII kinase); (3) Maximal accumulation of lhcb mRNA during the diurnal light phase seems to require an active LHCII kinase whereas inactivation of the kinase is accompanied by dampening of the circadian oscillation in the amount of lhcb mRNA; (4) Excitation pressure of photosystem II (reduction state of the plastoquinone pool) is not directly involved in the regulation of lhcb mRNA accumulation. Instead (5) the redox status of the electron acceptors of photosystem I in the stromal compartment seems to be highly regulated and crucial for the regulation of lhcb gene expression in the nucleus.

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