Folia Microbiologica

, Volume 64, Issue 5, pp 691–703 | Cite as

Photoprotective strategies in the motile cryptophyte alga Rhodomonas salina—role of non-photochemical quenching, ions, photoinhibition, and cell motility

  • Radek KaňaEmail author
  • Eva Kotabová
  • Barbora Šedivá
  • Eliška Kuthanová Trsková
Original Article


We explored photoprotective strategies in a cryptophyte alga Rhodomonas salina. This cryptophytic alga represents phototrophs where chlorophyll a/c antennas in thylakoids are combined with additional light-harvesting system formed by phycobiliproteins in the chloroplast lumen. The fastest response to excessive irradiation is induction of non-photochemical quenching (NPQ). The maximal NPQ appears already after 20 s of excessive irradiation. This initial phase of NPQ is sensitive to Ca2+ channel inhibitor (diltiazem) and disappears, also, in the presence of non-actin, an ionophore for monovalent cations. The prolonged exposure to high light of R. salina cells causes photoinhibition of photosystem II (PSII) that can be further enhanced when Ca2+ fluxes are inhibited by diltiazem. The light-induced reduction in PSII photochemical activity is smaller when compared with immotile diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum. We explain this as a result of their different photoprotective strategies. Besides the protective role of NPQ, the motile R. salina also minimizes high light exposure by increased cell velocity by almost 25% percent (25% from 82 to 104 μm/s). We suggest that motility of algal cells might have a photoprotective role at high light because algal cell rotation around longitudinal axes changes continual irradiation to periodically fluctuating light.





maximal chlorophyll a fluorescence for dark-adapted sample


maximal chlorophyll a fluorescence for light-adapted sample


maximal chlorophyll a fluorescence measured in the dark following short light period


maximal efficiency of PSII photochemistry


non-photochemical quenching of fluorescence


photosystem II



We want to thank Ondřej Prášil and Aurelie Crepin for critical reading of the manuscript. We want to acknoledge Jiří Šetlík for his long-term technical assistance during experiments and for skillful adaptation of biophysical instruments.

Funding information

This research project was supported by the Czech Science Foundation (GAČR) (Grantová agentura České republiky) project GACR 16-10088S. The work at center ALGATECH has been supported by the institutional projects Algatech Plus (MSMT LO1416) and Algamic (CZ 1.05/2.1.00/19.0392) from the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport.

Supplementary material

12223_2019_742_MOESM1_ESM.avi (8 mb)
Supplementary movie 1 (AVI 8211 kb)


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Copyright information

© Institute of Microbiology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, v.v.i. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Microbiology, Centre ALGATECHCzech Academy of SciencesTřeboňCzech Republic
  2. 2.Student of Faculty of ScienceUniversity of South BohemiaCeske BudejoviceCzech Republic

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