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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2013 Mar;1827(3):294-302. doi: 10.1016/j.bbabio.2012.11.012. Epub 2012 Nov 29.

An explanation for the inter-species variability of the photoprotective non-photochemical chlorophyll fluorescence quenching in diatoms.

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Institute for Coastal Research and Environment, La Rochelle cedex, France.


Diatoms are a major group of microalgae whose photosynthetic productivity supports a substantial part of the aquatic primary production. In their natural environment they have to cope with strong fluctuations of the light climate which can be harmful for photosynthesis. In order to prevent the damage of their photosynthetic machinery, diatoms use fast regulatory processes among which the non-photochemical quenching of chlorophyll a fluorescence (NPQ) is one of the most important. In a previous work, we highlighted differences in the kinetics and extent of NPQ between diatom species/strains originating from different aquatic habitats. We proposed that the NPQ differences observed between strains/species could potentially participate to their ecophysiological adaptation to the light environment of their respective natural habitat. In order to better understand the molecular bases of such differences, we compared the NPQ features of four strains/species of diatoms known for their NPQ discrepancy. We could identify new spectroscopic fingerprints concomitant to NPQ and the related xanthophyll cycle. These fingerprints helped us propose a molecular explanation for the NPQ differences observed between the diatom species/strains examined. The present work further strengthens the potential role of NPQ in the ecophysiology of diatoms.

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