Skip to main content

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


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.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.



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


  • Allen, J. F. (1992) Protein phosphorylation in regulation of photosynthesis. Biochim. Biophys. Acta1098, 275–335

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Argyroudi-Akoyunoglou, J. H., Akoyunoglou, G. (1979) The chlorophyll-protein complexes of the thylakoid in greening plastids ofPhaseolus vulgaris. FEBS Lett.104, 78–84

    Google Scholar 

  • Bassi, R., Pineau, B., Dainese, P., Marquardt, J. (1993) Carotenoidbinding proteins of photosystem II. Eur. J. Biochem.212, 297–303

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Bradbury, M., Baker, N. R. (1984) A quantitative determination of photochemical and non-photochemical quenching during the slow phase of the chlorophyll fluorescence induction curve of bean leaves. Biochim. Biophys. Acta765, 275–281

    Google Scholar 

  • Demmig-Adams, B. (1990) Carotenoids and photoprotection in plants: A role for the xanthophyll zeaxanthin. Biochim. Biophys. Acta1020, 1–24

    Google Scholar 

  • Demmig-Adams, B., Adams III, W. W., Heber, U., Neimanis, S., Winter, K., Krüger, A., Czygan, F.-Z., Bilger, W., Björkman, O. (1990) Inhibition of zeaxanthin formation and of rapid changes in radiationless energy dissipation by dithiothreitol in spinach leaves and chloroplasts. Plant Physiol.92, 293–301

    Google Scholar 

  • Engelbrecht, S., Lill, H., Junge, W. (1986) The proton channel, CFo, in thylakoid membranes — Only a low proportion of CF1-lacking CFo is active with a high unit conductance (169 fS). Eur. J. Biochem.160, 635–643

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Falbel, T.G., Staehelin, L.A. (1992) Species-related differences in the electrophoretic behavior of CP 29 and CP 26: An immunochemical analysis. Photosynth. Res.34, 249–262

    Google Scholar 

  • Genty, B., Briantais, J.-M., Baker, N.R. (1989) The relationship between the quantum yield of photosynthetic electron transport and quenching of chlorophyll fluorescence. Biochim. Biophys. Acta990, 87–92

    Google Scholar 

  • Gilmore, A. M., Yamamoto, H. Y. (1991) Resolution of lutein and zeaxanthin using a non-endcapped, lightly carbon-loaded C18 high-performance liquid chromatographic column. J. Chromatogr.543, 137–145

    Google Scholar 

  • Gilmore, A. M., Yamamoto, H. Y. (1993) Linear models relating xanthophylls and lumen acidity to non-photochemical fluorescence quenching. Evidence that antheraxanthin explains zeaxanthin-independent quenching. Photosynth. Res.35, 67–78

    Google Scholar 

  • Horton, P., Ruban, A. V., Rees, D., Pascal, A. A., Noctor, G., Young, A. J. (1991) Control of light-harvesting function of chloroplast membranes by aggregation of the LHC II chlorophyll-protein complex. FEBS Lett.292, 1–4

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Jahns, P., Junge, W. (1992) Thylakoids from pea seedlings grown under intermittent light: biochemical and flash-spectrophotometric properties. Biochemistry31, 7390–7397

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Krause, G. H., Weis, E. (1991) Chlorophyll fluorescence and photosynthesis: the basics. Annu. Rev. Plant Physiol. Plant Mol. Biol.42, 313–349

    Google Scholar 

  • Krieger, A., Moya, L, Weis, E. (1992) Energy-dependent quenching of chlorophyll a fluorescence: effect of pH on stationary fluorescence and picosecond-relaxation kinetics in thylakoid membranes and photosystem II preparations. Biochim. Biophys. Acta1102, 167–176

    Google Scholar 

  • Laemmli, U. K. (1970) Cleavage of structural proteins during the assembly of the head of bacteriophage T4. Nature227, 680–685

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Marquardt, J., Bassi, R. (1993) Chlorophyll-proteins from maize seedlings grown under intermittent light conditions. Their stoichiometry and pigment content. Planta191, 265–273

    Google Scholar 

  • Noctor, G., Rees, D., Young, A., Horton, P. (1991) The relationship between zeaxanthin, energy-dependent quenching of chlorophyll fluorescence, and trans-thylakoid pH gradient in isolated chloroplasts. Biochim. Biophys. Acta1057, 320–330

    Google Scholar 

  • Porra, R. J., Thompson, W., Kriedemann, P. E. (1989) Determination of accurate extinction coefficients and simultaneous equations for assaying chlorophylls a and b extracted with four different solvents: verification of the concentration of chlorophyll standards by atomic absorption spectroscopy. Biochim. Biophys. Acta975, 384–394

    Google Scholar 

  • Quick, W. P., Stitt, M. (1989) An examination of factors contributing to non-photochemical quenching of chlorophyll fluorescence in barley leaves. Biochim. Biophys. Acta977, 287–296

    Google Scholar 

  • Ruban, A. V, Rees, D., Pascal, A. A., Horton, P. (1992) Mechanism of Δ pH-dependent dissipation of photosynthetic membranes. II. The relationship between LHCII aggregation in vitro and qE in isolated thylakoids. Biochim. Biophys. Acta1102, 39–44

    Google Scholar 

  • Schreiber, U., Neubauer, C. (1990) O2-dependent electron flow, membrane organization and the mechanism of non-photochemical quenching of chlorophyll fluorescence. Photosynth. Res.25, 279–293

    Google Scholar 

  • Schreiber, U., Schliwa, U., Bilger, W. (1986) Continuous recording of photochemical and non-photochemical chlorophyll fluorescence quenching with a new type of modulation fluorometer. Photosynth. Res.10, 51–62

    Google Scholar 

  • Siefermann-Harms, D. (1977) The xanthophyll cycle in higher plants. In: Lipids and lipid polymers in higher plants, pp. 218–230, Tevini, M., Lichtenthaler, H. K., eds. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Tzinas, G., Argyroudi-Akoyunoglou, J.H., Akoyunoglou, G. (1987) The effect of the dark interval in intermittent light on thylakoid development: photosynthetic unit formation and light harvesting protein accumulation. Photosynth. Res.14, 241–258

    Google Scholar 

  • Walters, R. G., Horton, P. (1991) Resolution of components of non-photochemical chlorophyll fluorescence quenching in barley leaves. Photosynth. Res.27, 121–133

    Google Scholar 

  • Weis, E., Berry, J. A. (1987) Quantum efficiency of photosystem II in relation to ‘energy’-dependent quenching of chlorophyll fluoresecence. Biochim. Biophys. Acta894, 198–208

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

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).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Key words