, Volume 233, Issue 2, pp 275-285,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

CAM-related changes in chloroplastic metabolism of Mesembryanthemum crystallinum L.


Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) is an intriguing metabolic strategy to maintain photosynthesis under conditions of closed stomata. A shift from C3 photosynthesis to CAM in Mesembryanthemum crystallinum plants was induced by high salinity (0.4 M NaCl). In CAM-performing plants, the quantum efficiencies of photosystem II and I were observed to undergo distinct diurnal fluctuations that were characterized by a strong decline at the onset of the day, midday recovery, and an evening drop. The temporal recovery of both photosystems’ efficiency at midday was associated with a more rapid induction of the electron transport rate at PSII. This recovery of the photosynthetic apparatus at midday was observed to be accompanied by extreme swelling of thylakoids. Despite these fluctuations, a persistent effect of CAM was the acceptor side limitation of PSI during the day, which was accompanied by a strongly decreased level of Rubisco protein. Diurnal changes in the efficiency of photosystems were parallel to corresponding changes in the levels of mRNAs for proteins of PSII and PSI reaction centers and for rbcL, reaching a maximum in CAM plants at midday. This might reflect a high demand for new protein synthesis at this time of the day. Hybridization of run-on transcripts with specific probes for plastid genes of M. crystallinum revealed that the changes in plastidic mRNA levels were regulated at the level of transcription.