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Plant Cell Environ. 2014 Nov;37(11):2601-12. doi: 10.1111/pce.12345. Epub 2014 May 26.

The acclimation of photosynthesis and respiration to temperature in the C3 -C4 intermediate Salsola divaricata: induction of high respiratory CO2 release under low temperature.

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  • 1School of Biological Sciences, Molecular Plant Sciences, Washington State University, Pullman, WA, 99164-4236, USA.


Photosynthesis in C(3) -C(4) intermediates reduces carbon loss by photorespiration through refixing photorespired CO(2) within bundle sheath cells. This is beneficial under warm temperatures where rates of photorespiration are high; however, it is unknown how photosynthesis in C(3) -C(4) plants acclimates to growth under cold conditions. Therefore, the cold tolerance of the C(3) -C(4) Salsola divaricata was tested to determine whether it reverts to C(3) photosynthesis when grown under low temperatures. Plants were grown under cold (15/10 °C), moderate (25/18 °C) or hot (35/25 °C) day/night temperatures and analysed to determine how photosynthesis, respiration and C(3) -C(4) features acclimate to these growth conditions. The CO(2) compensation point and net rates of CO(2) assimilation in cold-grown plants changed dramatically when measured in response to temperature. However, this was not due to the loss of C(3) -C(4) intermediacy, but rather to a large increase in mitochondrial respiration supported primarily by the non-phosphorylating alternative oxidative pathway (AOP) and, to a lesser degree, the cytochrome oxidative pathway (COP). The increase in respiration and AOP capacity in cold-grown plants likely protects against reactive oxygen species (ROS) in mitochondria and photodamage in chloroplasts by consuming excess reductant via the alternative mitochondrial respiratory electron transport chain.


C3-C4 photosynthesis; Salsola divaricata; alternative oxidase pathway

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