Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 125, Issue 1–2, pp 219–231 | Cite as

The slow S to M rise of chlorophyll a fluorescence reflects transition from state 2 to state 1 in the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii

  • Sireesha Kodru
  • Tirupathi Malavath
  • Elsinraju Devadasu
  • Sreedhar Nellaepalli
  • Alexandrina Stirbet
  • Rajagopal SubramanyamEmail author
  • GovindjeeEmail author
Regular Paper


The green alga Chlamydomonas (C.) reinhardtii is a model organism for photosynthesis research. State transitions regulate redistribution of excitation energy between photosystem I (PS I) and photosystem II (PS II) to provide balanced photosynthesis. Chlorophyll (Chl) a fluorescence induction (the so-called OJIPSMT transient) is a signature of several photosynthetic reactions. Here, we show that the slow (seconds to minutes) S to M fluorescence rise is reduced or absent in the stt7 mutant (which is locked in state 1) in C. reinhardtii. This suggests that the SM rise in wild type C. reinhardtii may be due to state 2 (low fluorescence state; larger antenna in PS I) to state 1 (high fluorescence state; larger antenna in PS II) transition, and thus, it can be used as an efficient and quick method to monitor state transitions in algae, as has already been shown in cyanobacteria (Papageorgiou et al. 1999, 2007; Kaňa et al. 2012). We also discuss our results on the effects of (1) 3-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)-1,4-dimethyl urea, an inhibitor of electron transport; (2) n-propyl gallate, an inhibitor of alternative oxidase (AOX) in mitochondria and of plastid terminal oxidase in chloroplasts; (3) salicylhydroxamic acid, an inhibitor of AOX in mitochondria; and (4) carbonyl cyanide p-trifluoromethoxyphenylhydrazone, an uncoupler of phosphorylation, which dissipates proton gradient across membranes. Based on the data presented in this paper, we conclude that the slow PSMT fluorescence transient in C. reinhardtii is due to the superimposition of, at least, two phenomena: qE dependent non-photochemical quenching of the excited state of Chl, and state transitions.


Chlorophyll fluorescence Light-harvesting complex Photosystem I Photosystem II State transitions 



Alternative oxidase


Cyclic electron flow






3-(3,4-Dichlorophenyl)-1,4-dimethyl urea; also known as Diuron


Carbonyl cyanide p-trifluoromethoxyphenylhydrazone


Linear electron flow


Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate


NAD(P)H dehydrogenase


Type II NADPH dehydrogenase


Chl a fluorescence transient, where “O” refers to the minimum fluorescence, J and I for inflections, P for peak, S for semi-steady state, M for maximum and T for terminal steady state




n-Propyl gallate


Proton-motive force


Plastoquinone, plastoquinol




Plastid (or plastoquinol) terminal oxidase


Salicylhydroxamic acid



Rajagopal Subramanyam was supported by the Department of Biotechnology (BT/PR15132/BRB/10/909/2011) and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (38(1381)/14/EMR-II), India, and Sireesha Kodru by the Department of Biotechnology for a research associate fellowship (DBT-RA), India. Govindjee was supported by the US Fulbright foundation during his stay at the University of Hyderabad, India. We are grateful to Reto J. Strasser and to the late Prasanna Mohanty for providing the Handy PEA instrument used in our studies. We thank Vandana Chakravartty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for her valuable comments during the preparation of this manuscript.

Supplementary material

11120_2015_84_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (389 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 389 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sireesha Kodru
    • 1
  • Tirupathi Malavath
    • 1
  • Elsinraju Devadasu
    • 1
  • Sreedhar Nellaepalli
    • 2
  • Alexandrina Stirbet
    • 3
  • Rajagopal Subramanyam
    • 1
    Email author
  • Govindjee
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Plant Sciences, School of Life SciencesUniversity of HyderabadHyderabadIndia
  2. 2.Department of Biochemistry, School of Life SciencesUniversity of HyderabadHyderabadIndia
  3. 3.Newport NewsUSA
  4. 4.Departments of Biochemistry and Plant Biology, and Center of Biophysics & Quantitative BiologyUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA

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