Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 98, Issue 21, pp 8777–8796 | Cite as

Revised scheme for the mechanism of photoinhibition and its application to enhance the abiotic stress tolerance of the photosynthetic machinery



When photosynthetic organisms are exposed to abiotic stress, their photosynthetic activity is significantly depressed. In particular, photosystem II (PSII) in the photosynthetic machinery is readily inactivated under strong light and this phenomenon is referred to as photoinhibition of PSII. Other types of abiotic stress act synergistically with light stress to accelerate photoinhibition. Recent studies of photoinhibition have revealed that light stress damages PSII directly, whereas other abiotic stresses act exclusively to inhibit the repair of PSII after light-induced damage (photodamage). Such inhibition of repair is associated with suppression, by reactive oxygen species (ROS), of the synthesis of proteins de novo and, in particular, of the D1 protein, and also with the reduced efficiency of repair under stress conditions. Gene-technological improvements in the tolerance of photosynthetic organisms to various abiotic stresses have been achieved via protection of the repair system from ROS and, also, by enhancing the efficiency of repair via facilitation of the turnover of the D1 protein in PSII. In this review, we summarize the current status of research on photoinhibition as it relates to the effects of abiotic stress and we discuss successful strategies that enhance the activity of the repair machinery. In addition, we propose several potential methods for activating the repair system by gene-technological methods.


Abiotic stress Photoinhibition Photosystem II (PSII) Repair Stress tolerance Gene technology 



This work was supported, in part, by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Numbers 24570039 and 25119704 (to Y.N.).


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Graduate School of Science and Engineering and Institute for Environmental Science and TechnologySaitama UniversitySaitamaJapan
  2. 2.National Institute for Basic BiologyOkazakiJapan

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