Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 67, Issue 1, pp 139-145

First online:

Photoprotection in a zeaxanthin- and lutein-deficient double mutant of Arabidopsis

  • Krishna K. NiyogiAffiliated withDepartment of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California Email author 
  • , Connie ShihAffiliated withDepartment of Plant Biology, Carnegie Institution of Washington
  • , Wah Soon ChowAffiliated withResearch School of Biological Sciences, Australian National University
  • , Barry J. PogsonAffiliated withDivision of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Australian National University
  • , Dean DellaPennaAffiliated withDepartment of Biochemistry, University of Nevada
  • , Olle BjörkmanAffiliated withDepartment of Plant Biology, Carnegie Institution of Washington

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When light absorption by a plant exceeds its capacity for light utilization, photosynthetic light harvesting is rapidly downregulated by photoprotective thermal dissipation, which is measured as nonphotochemical quenching of chlorophyll fluorescence (NPQ). To address the involvement of specific xanthophyll pigments in NPQ, we have analyzed mutants affecting xanthophyll metabolism in Arabidopsis thaliana. An npq1 lut2 double mutant was constructed, which lacks both zeaxanthin and lutein due to defects in the violaxanthin de-epoxidase and lycopene ∈-cyclase genes. The npq1 lut2 strain had normal Photosystem II efficiency and nearly wild-type concentrations of functional Photosystem II reaction centers, but the rapidly reversible component of NPQ was completely inhibited. Despite the defects in xanthophyll composition and NPQ, the npq1 lut2 mutant exhibited a remarkable ability to tolerate high light.

lutein nonphotochemical quenching photoprotection xanthophyll cycle zeaxanthin