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Plant Physiol. 1993 Jul;102(3):859-866.

Effects of O2 and CO2 on Nonsteady-State Photosynthesis (Further Evidence for Ribulose-1,5-Bisphosphate Carboxylase/Oxygenase Limitation).

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Biology Department, Utah State University, Logan, Utah 84322-5303 (K.A.M.).


The effects of CO2 and O2 on nonsteady-state photosynthesis following an increase in photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) were examined in Spinacia oleracea to investigate the hypotheses that (a) a slow exponential phase (the ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase [Rubisco] phase) of nonsteady-state photosynthesis is primarily limited by Rubisco activity and (b) Rubisco activation involves two sequential, light-dependent processes as described in a previous study (I.E. Woodrow, K.A. Mott [1992] Plant Physiol 99: 298-303). Photosynthesis was found to be sensitive to O2 during the Rubisco phase in the approach of photosynthesis to steady state. Analyses of this sensitivity to O2 showed that the control coefficient for Rubisco was approximately equal to 1 during this phase, suggesting that Rubisco was the primary limitation to photosynthesis. O2 had almost no effect on the kinetics (described using a relaxation time, [tau] of the Rubisco phase for leaves starting in darkness or for leaves starting in low PPFD, but [tau] was substantially higher in the former case. CO2 was found to affect both the rate of photosynthesis and the magnitude of [tau] for the Rubisco phase. The [tau] value for the Rubisco phase was found to be negatively correlated with intercellular CO2 concentration (ci), and leaves starting in darkness had higher values of [tau] at any ci than leaves starting in low PPFD. The effects of CO2 and O2 on the Rubisco phase are consistent with the existence of two sequential, light-dependent processes in the activation of Rubisco if neither process is sensitive to O2 and only the second process is sensitive to CO2. The implications of the data for the mechanism of Rubisco activation and for the effects of stomatal conductance on nonsteady-state photosynthesis are discussed.

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