Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 130, Issue 1–3, pp 373–387 | Cite as

Electrical signals as mechanism of photosynthesis regulation in plants

  • Vladimir Sukhov


This review summarizes current works concerning the effects of electrical signals (ESs) on photosynthesis, the mechanisms of the effects, and its physiological role in plants. Local irritations of plants induce various photosynthetic responses in intact leaves, including fast and long-term inactivation of photosynthesis, and its activation. Irritation-induced ESs, including action potential, variation potential, and system potential, probably causes the photosynthetic responses in intact leaves. Probable mechanisms of induction of fast inactivation of photosynthesis are associated with Ca2+- and (or) H+-influxes during ESs generation; long-term inactivation of photosynthesis might be caused by Ca2+- and (or) H+-influxes, production of abscisic and jasmonic acids, and inactivation of phloem H+-sucrose symporters. It is probable that subsequent development of inactivation of photosynthesis is mainly associated with decreased CO2 influx and inactivation of the photosynthetic dark reactions, which induces decreased photochemical quantum yields of photosystems I and II and increased non-photochemical quenching of photosystem II fluorescence and cyclic electron flow around photosystem I. However, other pathways of the ESs influence on the photosynthetic light reactions are also possible. One of them might be associated with ES-connected acidification of chloroplast stroma inducing ferredoxin-NADP+ reductase accumulation at the thylakoids in Tic62 and TROL complexes. Mechanisms of ES-induced activation of photosynthesis require further investigation. The probable ultimate effect of ES-induced photosynthetic responses in plant life is the increased photosynthetic machinery resistance to stressors, including high and low temperatures, and enhanced whole-plant resistance to environmental factors at least during 1 h after irritation.


Action potential Electrical signals Photosynthesis Photosynthesis regulation System potential Variation potential 



Investigations of the average dynamics of the photosynthetic response in the second leaf were supported by the Russian Science Foundation (Project No. 14-26-00098).


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiophysicsN. I. Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny NovgorodNizhny NovgorodRussia

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