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Plant Physiol. 2004 Mar;134(3):1163-72. Epub 2004 Feb 12.

Ascorbate-deficient mutants of Arabidopsis grow in high light despite chronic photooxidative stress.

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Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.


Acclimation to changing environments, such as increases in light intensity, is necessary, especially for the survival of sedentary organisms like plants. To learn more about the importance of ascorbate in the acclimation of plants to high light (HL), vtc2, an ascorbate-deficient mutant of Arabidopsis, and the double mutants vtc2npq4 and vtc2npq1 were tested for growth in low light and HL and compared with the wild type. The vtc2 mutant has only 10% to 30% of wild-type levels of ascorbate, vtc2npq4 has lower ascorbate levels and lacks non-photochemical quenching of chlorophyll fluorescence (NPQ) because of the absence of the photosystem II protein PsbS, and vtc2npq1 is NPQ deficient and also lacks zeaxanthin in HL but has PsbS. All three genotypes were able to grow in HL and had wild-type levels of Lhcb1, cytochrome f, PsaF, and 2-cysteine peroxiredoxin. However, the mutants had lower electron transport and oxygen evolution rates and lower quantum efficiency of PSII compared with the wild type, implying that they experienced chronic photooxidative stress. The mutants lacking NPQ in addition to ascorbate were only slightly more affected than vtc2. All three mutants had higher glutathione levels than the wild type in HL, suggesting a possible compensation for the lower ascorbate content. These results demonstrate the importance of ascorbate for the long-term acclimation of plants to HL.

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