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Xanthophyll cycle and energy-dependent fluorescence quenching in leaves from pea plants grown under intermittent light

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The possible role of zeaxanthin formation and antenna proteins in energy-dependent chlorophyll fluorescence quenching (qE) has been investigated. Intermittent-light-grown pea (Pisum sativum L.) plants that lack most of the chlorophyll a/b antenna proteins exhibited a significantly reduced qE upon illumination with respect to control plants. On the other hand, the violaxanthin content related to the number of reaction centers and to xanthophyll cycle activity, i.e. the conversion of violaxanthin into zeaxanthin, was found to be increased in the antenna-protein-depleted plants. Western blot analyses indicated that, with the exception of CP 26, the content of all chlorophyll a/b-binding proteins in these plants is reduced to less than 10% of control values. The results indicate that chlorophyll a/b-binding antenna proteins are involved in the energy-dependent fluorescence quenching but that only a part of qE can be attributed to quenching by chlorophyll a/b-binding proteins. It seems very unlikely that xanthophylls are exclusively responsible for the qE mechanism.

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chlorophyll a/b-binding



FV :

variable fluorescence


intermittent light


light harvesting complex


photon flux density


photochemical quenching of chlorophyll fluoresence


non-photochemical quenching


energy-dependent quenching


photoinhibitory quenching


quenching by state transition


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Jahns, P., Krause, G.H. Xanthophyll cycle and energy-dependent fluorescence quenching in leaves from pea plants grown under intermittent light. Planta 192, 176–182 (1994).

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