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A novel mechanistic interpretation of instantaneous temperature responses of leaf net photosynthesis

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Abstract

Steady-state rates of leaf CO2 assimilation (A) in response to incubation temperature (T) are often symmetrical around an optimum temperature. A/T curves of C3 plants can thus be fitted to a modified Arrhenius equation, where the activation energy of A close to a low reference temperature is strongly correlated with the dynamic change of activation energy to increasing incubation temperature. We tested how [CO2] < current atmospheric levels and saturating light, or [CO2] at 800 µmol mol−1 and variable light affect parameters that describe A/T curves, and how these parameters are related to known properties of temperature-dependent thylakoid electron transport. Variation of light intensity and substomatal [CO2] had no influence on the symmetry of A/T curves, but significantly affected their breadth. Thermodynamic and kinetic (physiological) factors responsible for (i) the curvature in Arrhenius plots and (ii) the correlation between parameters of a modified Arrhenius equation are discussed. We argue that the shape of A/T curves cannot satisfactorily be explained via classical concepts assuming temperature-dependent shifts between rate-limiting processes. Instead the present results indicate that any given A/T curve appears to reflect a distinct flux mode, set by the balance between linear and cyclic electron transport, and emerging from the anabolic demand for ATP relative to that for NADPH.

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Abbreviations

A ref :

Net photosynthesis at the reference temperature

A opt :

Peak rates of net photosynthesis at optimum temperature

T ref :

Low reference temperature (294 K in the present study)

T opt :

Optimum temperature

E oA :

Activation energy of A at some (unspecified) incubation temperature

E o(Ref A ):

Activation energy of A infinitesimally close to (or ‘at’) the reference temperature

δ A :

Dynamic response of E oA to changes in incubation temperature

ETR:

Linear electron transport rate

E o(RefETR):

Activation energy of ETR at the reference temperature

δ ETR :

Dynamic response of E oETR to changes in incubation temperature

c a :

Applied CO2 concentration during measurements

c i :

Intercellular [CO2], Φ PSII, photochemical efficiency of PS II of light-adapted leaves (‘operating efficiency’)

CEF:

Cyclic electron flow around PS I

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Acknowledgments

The research of this study was funded by the King Saud University, Saudi Arabia (PRG-1436-24), and the University of Sydney, Australia.

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Correspondence to Jörg Kruse.

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Kruse, J., Alfarraj, S., Rennenberg, H. et al. A novel mechanistic interpretation of instantaneous temperature responses of leaf net photosynthesis. Photosynth Res 129, 43–58 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11120-016-0262-x

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