, Volume 194, Issue 4, pp 550–556 | Cite as

Activation of non-photochemical quenching in thylakoids and leaves

  • Giles N. Johnson
  • Andrew J. Young
  • Peter Horton


The mechanism of rapidly-relaxing non-photochemical quenching in two plant species,Chenopodium album L. andDigitalis purpurea L., that differ considerably in their capacity for such quenching has been investigated (Johnson G.N. et al. 1993, Plant Cell Environ. 16, 673–679). Illumination of leaves of both species in the presence of 2% O2 balance N2 led to the formation of zeaxanthin. When thylakoids were isolated from leaves of each species that had been so treated it was found that in D. purpurea non-photochemical quenching was “activated” relative to the control; a higher level of quenching was found for a given trans-thylakoid pH gradient. No such activation of non-photochemical quenching was observed in C. album. Similar conclusions were drawn when comparing quenching in intact leaves. It is concluded that light activation of quenching is a process that cannot readily be induced in C. album. Measurement of the sensitivity of non-photochemical quenching in leaves of C. album andD. purpurea to dithiothreitol (DTT; a reagent that inhibits formation of zeaxanthin) showed differences between the two species. In both cases, feeding leaves with DTT inhibited the light-induced formation of zeaxanthin. InC. album this was accompanied by complete inhibition of reversible non-photochemical quenching, whereas in D. purpurea this inhibition was only partial. Data are discussed in relation to studies on the mechanism of quenching and the role of zeaxanthin in this process.

Key words

Chlorophyll fluorescence Chenopodium Digitalis Non-photochemical quenching Photosynthesis Xanthophyll cycle Zeaxanthin 





non-photochemical quenching of chlorophyll fluorescence


ratio of variable to maximal fluorescence quenching


light harvesting complex II


trans-thylakoid pH gradient


photon flux density


quenching of 9-amino acridine fluorescence


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giles N. Johnson
    • 1
  • Andrew J. Young
    • 2
  • Peter Horton
    • 1
  1. 1.Robert Hill Institute, Department of Molecular Biology and BiotechnologyUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK
  2. 2.School of Biological and Earth Sciences, John Moores University LiverpoolLiverpoolUK

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